Let’s start with the non-traditional review stuff right now. The new Match Pro ED 5-30x56 mm scope from Bushnell is not earth-shattering. It doesn’t make wind calls for you. It doesn’t zero itself without using any ammunition. It doesn’t come in a 256-color-palette format that allows you to match it to the Cerakote finish of your favorite rifle. What it does, though, is offer a long-range optic at LPVO prices. And, not that I have to add it, but it works.
I had the chance to try out the Match Pro ED (Extra-low Dispersion glass) at a writer’s event last summer in Wyoming. In addition to standard, benchrest shooting to zero the scopes and get a feel for its long-range capabilities, we also engaged in some Precision Rifle Series (PRS)-style competition—friendly, and, well, also a bit serious. First-shot hits were made from 100 through 800 yards; the only reason the 1,000-yard target required a second shot had to do with changing environmental factors, not scope limitations.
Sponsored Bushnell competitors assisted the writers with the PRS elements, starting with spotting our long-range efforts and making wind calls. Once we had gained familiarity with the GA Precision rifles and the Match Pro ED scopes, we moved off the bench and onto more, well, pliable shooting positions. Standing, prone, seated; we shot at targets from 300 to 700 yards in a variety of different configurations. Off bags, packs, bipods and tripods, our ability to connect with steel at distance was hampered only by our own personal fitness levels (for example, I am one of the least flexible humans on the planet. I simply cannot contort my body into some of the positions needed).
One thing that did not hold us back, though, was the Match Pro scope. Had we not been told the MSRP of this scope, we’d have guessed it was more in line with the Elite Tactical series present on some of the other rifles. What really stood out was how little attention was paid to the scope itself—once zeroed, it simply did its job. Light transmission really wasn’t a factor, as the day was sunny and light was plentiful. Eye relief is excellent with very little of the shade that can creep into inferior optics should one more the slightest bit off perfect center. This scope is quite forgiving.
Long-range time culminated in a PRS shoot-off: the writers were split into two groups, with each group having a sponsored “ringer” from Bushnell as the captain. Three stages, one with targets out to 400 yards, one going out to 600 and the last out to 700 yards, were presented to the two teams. On the first stage, we were given time to dial our scopes to the appropriate elevation; on the second, we were given the choice of dialing or using reticle holdovers; the last stage was a “no touch” stage—we weren’t allowed to touch the scope at all. We would have to set the magnification and elevation before the match started and adjust using only the first-focal-plane reticle.
This really gave a great chance to see how the Match Pro performed in competitive shooting as well as demonstrating its ability to not only quickly and efficiently change magnification levels or elevation, but how well the Deploy Mil2 reticle (DM2) allowed us to efficiently estimate holdovers. I don’t remember which team won, which most likely means it wasn’t mine.
On the test range with a different Match Pro ED scope, I ran it through our usual litany of function and accuracy tests. Zero the scope, run a box drill, check repeatability, etc. It passed with flying colors. At no point did the test scope—nor the scope I used last summer—lose zero or exhibit any other irregularities. Both just plain worked. Changes in elevation and windage were repeatable and easily tracked; while running the Match Pro through the simulated PRS runs, all elevation changes (as helpfully noted by the professional shooters) were spot-on: if we needed to change the elevation by 2.1 mils going from the 100-yard zero to 400 yards, it worked. Every time.
At extreme long range (beyond 1,000 yards), at the highest power setting, the picture wasn’t quite as crisp as at closer distances, but that’s to be expected, as less light is entering the scope at the highest setting and there’s more kinetic movement (you really notice the effect of breathing and heartbeat/heart rate at the highest power settings). It’s by no means a knock on the Match Pro ED; the fact that we’re even attempting a 1,350-yard shot with a $700 optic should be enough praise for Bushnell’s latest offering.
What’s the bottom line on the Match Pro ED 5-30x56 mm scope? If you’re looking to put together a 1,000-yard combination, it’s a fantastic choice. Pair it with a Ruger American or Savage Axis rifle (in an appropriate caliber), and you can ring steel at distance for less than $1,500. For those interested in long-range shooting, the barrier to entry just got a lot lower.