It's not as uncommon as you may think. A 1 MOA target at 100 yards with a 14x scope is still a 1 MOA target at 1760 yards in a 14x scope. I think most people do pretty well seeing a 1" dot at 100 yards on 14x. Seeing a 17-18" (elk kill zone size) target at 1 mile is no different assuming the shooter uses quality optics. Certainly everyone can agree that a March scope on 15x is far superior to a BSA scope on 32x. The quality of the glass is more important than the magnification.an anomaly, certainly not normal, nor average. glad it works for you.
If the OP has a $2000 budget (based on his interest in the Burris XTR III), I'd just look for the highest quality optic I could find in that price range. If that meant dropping down in magnification to get higher quality glass then that's what I'd do. I've never even looked through the Burris XTR II so I'm not sure what the glass is like on the XTR III. Maybe it's an exceptional optic that's entirely functional throughout it's power range under average conditions where the OP shoots at. If that's the case then crank the power up as much as possible.