Straddling the middle ground of premium performance and price, the Burris Signature HD series delivers precision construction, quality components, and up-level features without the “Big Spend”

by Rob Reaser

I buy into the old saying, “You get what you pay for,” hook, line, and sinker. Been there. Done that. Learned the lesson too many times to ever forget it.

But that only works up to a point. Sometimes you pay a lot without benefitting from the full value of your investment. An example of this would be certain brands that charge a shiny coin for a product simply because of the hype built around the name. On the flip side, you can dump a bunch of money on a product that is worth the price, but it may be more “premium” than you need, in which case, you may never get your money’s worth.

In the scope market, there exists this middle ground. It sits somewhere north of $400 and a bit south $1,000. It is a crowded field, to be sure, with manufacturers trying to pump in as many features and high-quality materials as possible to give their models street cred while keeping the price — while not necessarily pain-free — as painless as they can make it.

And this is where we find the Burris Signature HD riflescope.

Burris introduced the Signature HD almost two years ago. While it caught my eye at the time, I only recently had a reason to give it a try.

Not long ago, I came into possession of a Remington 700 with a heavy-contour barrel chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor. It was bare naked as far as sighting systems go, and since I had visions of creating an “everyman” rifle that could drop whitetails, roll coyotes, and ding steel at way-out-there distances, I thought this would be the perfect platform to give the Signature HD a go.

Burris offers the Signature HD in three different models. There is a 2-10x40mm model ($455), a 3-15x44mm version ($599-$635), and the “glassiest” of the lot—a 5-25x50mm model ($779-$899). While I typically shy away from high-magnification scopes, I decided to go with the 5-25×40 because it is the only one of the series offered with a 6.5 Creedmoor compensation reticle in the first focal plane. Other reticles offered include the Burris Fine Plex (perfect for hunting) and the Ballistic E3 (a more simplified compensation reticle), both in the second focal plane. Since I hope for a return to antelope country soon, this rifle/scope combo should prove devastating on the speed goats.

Let’s take a tour…

Burris kept Signature HD’s the ocular bell trim. There is no high-profile quick-throw lever, nor is one needed. The magnification ring turns smoothly with only moderate effort yet has enough tension that it won’t rotate unless you mean for it too. Similarly, the focus ring turns easily, with a rubber eye protector providing excellent grip. Again, there is enough tension on the ring that it is hard-pressed to move out of focus by accident.

Both the windage and elevation turrets are exposed and offer 1/4 MOA click adjustment. To adjust, simply pull outward on the knob and rotate to the desired position. Pushing the knob in prevents it from rotating after adjustment. Once the scope is zeroed, the knobs can be removed and rotated to the zero position.

The elevation knob features a zero stop. After zeroing the scope, loosen the three set screws on the Zero Click Stop ring and rotate the ring clockwise until it stops. Retighten the set screws. With the Zero Click Stop in position, you can rotate the knob for bullet drop compensation, take the shot, and quickly return to zero without getting lost on the dial.

The Signature HD has a side focus/parallax adjustment ring. This allows you to compensate for parallax from 25 yards to infinity.

Outboard of the focus/parallax ring is the illumination control dial. This feature is found on the 5-25x50mm models with the 6.5 Creedmoor and the Ballistic E3 reticles. Powered by a CR2032 battery, the dial has six illumination settings. Between each setting is an OFF position. I like this because I can simply rotate the dial one click in either direction to turn off the illumination instead of having to turn the dial through multiple illumination positions to turn it off.

The Burris 6.5 Creedmoor reticle offers bullet drop compensation and wind hold-off points calibrated for Hornady’s 140-grain ELD Match bullets pushed from the muzzle at 2710 fps. You can use the reticle compensation to make those long shots, or you may choose instead to dial in your D.O.P.E.

This image of the reticle is what you see at full magnification. Since this reticle comes in the first focal plane (reticle image enlarges or diminishes in size as you change magnification), the holdover/hold-off points practically disappear at the low end of the magnification range. This leaves you with a more conventional crosshair sight picture.

Note that the vertical and horizontal stadia taper from thick to thin as they move to the center of the reticle. At low (5x-8x) magnification, the stadia are so fine in the sight picture that it can be challenging to pick up the crosshair on a dark target in low light. To offset this, just turn on the illumination and the crosshair will light up red, giving you an easily visible aiming point at any magnification. On low magnification, the lighted crosshair is so small it looks like a red dot.

Thus far, I’ve only had time to work the Signature HD on the 100-meter range in order to find the best load for our upcoming whitetail rifle season opener. In that time, the scope has performed flawlessly and exhibits all the key requirements of a top-end hunting scope — excellent light transmission, high optical clarity, a confident sight picture, and ease of operation. We’ll see how tough it is once I start knocking it about in the brush. The eye relief is a tad narrow for my liking, but so it goes with greater magnification potential.

Overall, the Burris Signature HD seems to be a solid buy, delivering a scope that has everything you need for the kind of serious hunting or target work that pushes the edge of one’s marksmanship skills yet is offered at a price well shy of many top tier models on the market. Of course, being backed by Burris’ sterling Forever Warranty means this riflescope is also a safe bet for your investment.

Burris Signature HD 5-25x50mm Illuminated (#200535)

  • Turret Style: exposed, tall knobs
  • Reticle: 6.5 Creedmoor, illuminated
  • Magnification: 5-25x
  • Objective Lens Diameter: 57.2 mm
  • Clear Objective Lens Diameter: 50 mm
  • Ocular Lens Diameter: 46 mm
  • Focal Plane: front
  • Main Tube Size: 30 mm
  • Field of View: 22.5 – 4.5 ft.
  • Eye Relief: 3.3 – 3.6 in.
  • Exit Pupil: 8 – 2.2 mm
  • Click Value: 1/4 MOA
  • Elevation Adjustment, Total Capability: 65 MOA
  • Windage Adjustment: 65 MOA
  • Parallax/Focus: 25 yds. – infinity
  • Length: 14.3 in.
  • Weight: 24 oz.
  • MSRP: $899

Shoot On Editor-in-Chief Rob Reaser is a lifelong outdoorsman, former magazine editor, columnist, and contributing editor to numerous national publications in the automotive and outdoor segments. He has also authored and co-authored several DIY gun building books. His shooting and hunting passions cover everything from traditional archery and big-game bowhunting to the latest in handguns, rifles, and reloading. Rob has a troublesome habit of pulling guns and things apart to see how they work; occasionally, he manages to get them back together...

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