Burris 3-15 XTR II
In my last optic review of the Burris 5-25 XTR II I mentioned that I would be doing a review of the XTR II in the 2-10 variety come late summer. It’s now late summer/early fall, but unfortunately I was unable to acquire the 2-10 XTR II. The XTR line of optics has become very popular, and even after ramping up production significantly Burris has been unable to keep shelves fully stocked.
My hope was to test the 2-10 on my match carbine to see if it would fit the bill as far as having a great all-around optic for the AR15, especially for team matches in which a carbine is required. Since Burris was unable to provide the 2-10, I was offered the 3-15 XTR II to try instead. The more I thought about it, the more I thought the 3-15 could fill that role, so I decided to give it a try and use it during some team matches I competed in this summer.
As with the 5-25 version of the XTR II, I had a great first impression when I unboxed the unit. The design stays true to the entire line and has a great look. It’s classic satin black finish and has the tactical feel and function one would expect from this type of optic. Great turret size, tactile/audible clicks, and legible font all add up to a great interface between the shooter and the optic.
This flavor of 3-15 came with the SCR (Special Competition Reticle) just like my 5-25 has. I am very accustomed to this reticle and the only reticle I may favor over this would be a Horus Christmas-tree style. The SCR is so quick to hold wind with using its two tenth increments on alternating sides of the stadia. The optic is a first focal plane design, but the reticle always seems to be the correct size/thickness as the magnification is increased or decreased.
One thing that I realized immediately is that the glass seemed to be clearer than in my 5-25. I believe this is because the 5-25 has to stretch out that much harder using similar components. The 3-15 just doesn’t have to work as hard to achieve its 15x magnification. This all could be an illusion, but it’s hard to compare when the 5-25 seems to darken a bit when getting to that higher range of magnification and the 3-15 does not.
I used the scope in the US Optics team challenge in Douglas, Wyoming. The scope worked rather well in this setting, especially attached to the top of the carbine rig. In the rules we were not allowed to have more than one optic attached to the carbine, and at times we had to engage targets rather close in “assault stages”, so getting all the way down to 3x was helpful in those situations. While not as quick as a 1x or 2x, it was still plenty useful and I was able to shoot off-hand and score “A” zone hits in the eye box of IPSC cardboard silhouettes rather easily.
The scope was not babied by any stretch of the imagination. I don’t abuse my equipment, but the AR15 rig was tossed around quite a bit from the day I mounted the optic. Running in the truck with me day to day at work before the matches, during the matches themselves, and getting dropped and carried on a sling during running and plenty of movement- the scope didn’t ever lose its zero. I think that’s one of the most important aspects of an optic. Even if you can only afford lower quality glass, are borrowing a rifle, or simply don’t know better-you can still get work done if you are a decent/consistent shooter and your scope zero is not shifting around on you.
At distance the optic performed great. During the team match at the Whittington Center for the Sporting Rifle Match, I made hits on steel at 700 yards firing the .223 cartridge. While sometimes it would be nice to reach out a little further than 15x, it wasn’t a make or break problem to have as the hits were possible. I could still see all I needed to see.
A friend of mine who was my partner for the Raton team match used my carbine with the XTR II attached for the entire day. He seemed to only have a couple of complaints. One which was the ocular lens was not adjusted for his eyes. This could have been remedied, but he was a quick alternate replacement as my original team mate had become ill the night before the match. I wasn’t sure if ocular lens adjustment could shift zero, so we made due with where it was already adjusted and he seemed to shoot just fine. His other complaint was that the serrations on the turrets were sharp to the point he though they may cut his hands. I had mentioned this in my review of the 5-25, but that was sort of subjective since I often had worn gloves to shoot, and I like having a solid purchase on the turret knobs. Some companies simply have a coin-edge type machining that is difficult to grip to turn the turret or just feels slippery. So, this may be a point for you to consider if you are optic shopping. If you have thicker or calloused skin, it may be no issue at all.
Burris was also kind enough to send me a PEPR AR15 height mount for the optic and I decided to use it. This worked out great because it allowed me to use a standard AR15 stock without any kind of cheek riser to get a good sight picture. The AR15 I was using was a side-charging style, so I didn’t have to worry about charging handle clearance. But this may be something you need to consider while setting up your rig. At the very least you may need a charging handle with and extended latch to get your hand away from the ocular end of the optic. I was using Magpul’s CTR stock and it worked perfectly.
Overall I honestly feel this 3-15 XTR II may have been the better option over the 2-10 for the testing we were doing. While I believe hits can absolutely be made at further distances with a 10x optic, it may not be as quick as using the 15x at full magnification. Firing a carbine past 600 yards will require you to be able to spot splashes and misses for corrections. First round hits out that far may be pretty rare, at least with the .223 cartridge. The extra stretch in the 3-15 did that well and I was impressed with its performance.
I urge anyone shopping for a carbine optic, or even an optic for their precision rig that requires a smaller package, to look at the 3-15 XTR II as an option. Burris has really stepped up to the plate with this line of scopes, and the ultra-high demand for these models tells me I’m not the only one who thinks so.
Written by Justin Willhite