Burris Black Diamond


Jan 30, 2003
I'm looking for a new scope, any one have any experience with the Burris BD?
They now have side focus.
Or should I go with a Leupold LRT?
Any opinions would be appreciated.
I called Burris today and they told me that the side focus scopes would be out in three to four weeks.
I couldn't find any info regarding the amount of adjustment.
Best guess at street price is 650-700.

[ 02-04-2003: Message edited by: 762nato ]
I had seriously looked into getting a Burris 8x32 Black Diamond last year, and asked around on most of the serious shooting boards... I found ONE person that had the scope, and he sasid if he had to do it again, he wouldn't even consider it. It was very disappointing.

I contacted Burris, and inquired about some design issues (I'm an optical en-ga-neer
, and from the answers, I ran the other way.

These days, when scopes are almost ALWAYS bought over the net (because of price), make sure that if you buy one and don't like it, that you can return it for exchange (without penality).

The Black Diamonds are supposed to have some *excellent* glass, and the price isn't too bad. I've been looking at one as a potential alternative to a Leupold or NightForce, due to the $$$ factor, although I think a top-o-the-line Leupold w/ target turrets is around the same street price, FWIW.

The two things that had kind of soured me on the Burris line was a) lack of side focus, and b) relatively limited range of elevation/windage adjustment compared to other scopes in the price range, such as the Leupold and NightForce, since my 'LR' gun right now is a .308 Win, complete w/ the cannonball trajectory.

Yes, there are ways of getting the additional elevation necessary, such as forward cant bases, and the Burris Signature rings, but they involve other compromises as well (such as possible not being able to zero the gun dead on for reference sight in @ 100yds). Its up to you whether that sort of thing matters to you, depending on your gun and application. I can probably manage w/ a .308, but then I don't shoot it as far out as some might.

Are the Black Diamonds w/ side focus actually shipping yet? Any idea of street price for them at this point?

I use a Black Diamond 8-32x50 for match shooting that was sent back for a posi-lock (which I use in 1K matches even though it's not supposed to work) and I think it's the nicest thing I've ever seen. In a lot of haze last year I remember having the person on the bench beside me ask me where his spotter was on the target because he couldn't see the 4-1/2" orange ring in his Nightforce 10-40. I could see just fine in my clunky old Burris. Won the relay with it at that. I had issues with the gun that I blamed on the scope for a while until I found the real problem, but never had a "real" problem with any of mine. (I have several burris 8-32's)

To compare to a Leupold is not fair as the two are not apples to apples. Don't compare the elevation on a Burris 8-32 1" to that of a Leupold 6.5-25 30mm. Leupold does not make a scope that high of a power in any tube size, so of course, they will get more elevation. My BD 8-32 has 37 minutes of elevation. The 6-24 has 52. At 1000yds with a 308 210 gr under 3K fps I have 120 clicks to go. That "slow" gun will reach 1600yds before running out of clicks and it's long out of gas by then. The 1" signature scopes have less I admit.

Even without the posi-lock, I've never seen a Burris scope not repeat. I DO NOT adjust down by turning way up and then back down to a little less than before because I think the springs don't work. Mine work perfectly.

Last, the fine plex hairs are so fine, they cover 1/2" at 1000yds. If you can't see it, you can't shoot it. I've seen reticules that cover the entire bull on our targets at 1K. Try to shoot with one of them some time.

[ 02-10-2003: Message edited by: 4mesh063 ]
Don't know if the Burris BD w/side focus will have more elevation than previous A/O models, but I doubt it. There's just no comparison in that regard vs. the Leupold 'LR' series. With the Leupold 6.5-20 or 8.5-25, you get 72 moa of up. Compare that to the BD w/39 moa. Both have 30mm main tubes, so the BD must do something different inside, or maybe Burris just doesn't get that we long range guys need UP.

OTOH, the BD is plenty of scope for long range shooting if you have a flat caliber, or use tapered bases/rings, or maybe best of all both. I watched a good friend compete very successfully at the NBRSA 1,000y Nationals in 2002 w/a Burris BD in 8-32, atop a tapered base. His was the only Burris scope on the line. All others were NF, Leupold, and a Tasco and a Mitchell (external adjustment). My pal had to remove his NF because his rig was over the 17 lb cutoff. The NF weighed 36 ounces vs. the 27 of the Burris BD.

Another mark maybe in favor of the Leupold. Their LR series weigh about 20 ounces.

Last consideration: if you still want to try a Burris BD, but will settle for one with slightly different cosmetics (and a lower price tag), check out the Pentax LS-30, as in Lightseeker w/30mm tube. Made by Burris to so-called Pentax specs, but the only differences I can see are the Pentax bell is significantly longer/more gradually sloped than the Burris version, and the Pentax has a conventional mag ring feature, vs. the annoying Burris magnification feature in which the entire ocular lens assembly rotates. (If you got a flip-up cap on it, you gotta keep it closed...)

Dealer price on the Leupold 8.5-25 is about $693.00 w/plex reticle, vs. $592 for Burris BD, vs. $485.00 (through Freedom Armory in PA) for the Pentax LS-30. F/A was about the only place I could find that had the Pentax for anything below 'retail', and it was WAY below, so maybe worth a roll of your dice?

Final comment: the NightForce Varminter (A/O style, no side focus) scopes were UP deficient too. Got a 12-42x56 w/30mm tube (like all NF scopes I think) which has a measley 40 moa. Their NXS line w/side focus features quite a bit more UP, at a price boost.
I had a buddy who insisted that since he talked to the Burris engineers on the phone and they told him that their product was better than Leupold, IT MUST be so. So he proceeded to buy a 3-12 BD and a 6-24 BD, without even trying one of my Leupolds. I took him on a PD hunt in Wyoming and he found that the Burris wasn't as clear, and he didn't have enough elevation to make it to the town we were shooting on. He since sold the 6-24 and bought a Leupold LR and is trying to sell the 3-12, but nobody wants it...go figure.. My 1" 6.5-20 had more useable elevation(tapered base on mine) than his 30mm 6-24 BD. I have never cared for the Burris BD line, although I have a 3-9 Compact on my muzzleloader and like it OK...

[ 03-11-2003: Message edited by: Chris Jamison ]

Have your buddy e-mail me with the price of his 3-12. I already have one and love it. Would definately take another at a good price.

As far as Burris customer service goes, I have only had the opportunity to use the service once. I had screwed up my BD and they fixed it for free, and delivered in about two weeks.


I recently bought a Burris 200941 8-32x50 with Ballastic Mil-dot and very happy. So I decided to buy a Burris 200930 6-24x50 both of these are black diamonds. I was not happy with the 6-24, it had black dots in the scope that appeared to be something from the factory. This was a new-in-box scope. I believe Burris has great optical engineering but quality control is not so good. Like a hit & miss. The Ballastic mil-dot is a great reticle, though. I am going to send it back and I love the life time warranty. However, consider this is a new-in-box scope. It just cut my Burris experience in half. New owner should not have to send new scope back to factory to get it right? That's what QA is for? I do love that ballastic mildot reticle and am thinking of getting another black diamond with the side focus. But I also own a few Leupolds and never had this kind of problem with the Lupies. So I am back wondering "black diamond" or "leupold LR".
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