I have several muzzleloaders in my gun cabinet and each has its own special hunting niche. Though not a common occurrence by any stretch of the imagination, I found myself once again on the market for a new scope to compliment my new muzzleloader with its 29” barrel which I’ve dedicated to extended range hunting conditions. With the long distance capability of today’s modern in-line muzzleloaders, a compatible scope which can improve my odds of placing a long range shot where I want it is of utmost importance to me as an ethical hunter.
While the selection of available scopes on the market each have their own particular features, my primary quest was to find a scope specifically designed to aid my long- range accuracy. I didn’t want to simply add telescopic magnification which is like looking through a shaky straw on the rugged terrains of hunting. Beyond my mandate for quality optics and reliable construction, I researched many manufacturers and found several scopes that offered unique reticles to accommodate the needs of my long distance shooting. For hunting conditions I wanted a reticle that was designed to provide assistance primarily in that 100 to 200 yard range. The other challenge I had was to find a scope that was designed specifically for the muzzleloader hunter rather than the centerfire hunter. The problem I encountered with scopes designed for the long-range centerfire cartridge was the lower hemisphere view was simply too crowded with numerous aiming points or lines that were clearly beyond even today’s muzzleloader capabilities. Other reticle designs I found included fainted lines or strings of circles or beads which distracted me from the traditional “crosshairs” I’ve grown so accustomed to over my 40 years of hunting.
After narrowing down the scopes with the features I was looking for, I chose the 3 X 9 Bushnell TROPHY Dead On Accurate (DOA) 250 Muzzleloader Scope
which meets my needs perfectly. The reticle crosshairs on the TROPHY DOA 250
are Duplex for quick-view orientation, and contain extended yardage points at 150(first line bar below the center crosshairs
), 200 and 250
yards designed specifically for the ballistics of the most common magnum loads for in-lines. To give you a real-world perspective of how the DOA Reticle looks, I took these pictures through the scope set on 9X power at about 58-60 yards. While these pictures do not in any way give the scope its full optical clarity, it should give you a general idea. For reference the tree on the left side of the V-forked trunk is 10” in diameter.
With this scope’s unique reticle design, it’s possible to essentially sight-in at 100 yards and be good out to 250
, which is especially nice if your club only has a 100 yard shooting range. Some bullet manufacturers such as Powerbelts provide ballistics tables for their bullets which further supports down range trajectory predictions to complement this particular scope. Bushnell also provides this same Powerbelt ballistics data for the DOA 250 scope at:
As an added bonus I found many other features as well that I liked on this particular scope. The reticle also contains a built-in “Rack Bracket System
” which consists of precise line lengths with hash-marks on the horizontal hold-over bars that correspond to the ear-to-ear widths for both the average mule deer (24”) and the average whitetail (17”). [As my own check I measured the ear-to-ear spread for two whitetail deer mounts I have, one is a 9 pointer and the other is a 10 pointer. The 9 pointer’s ear spread measured 16” and the 10 pointer’s ear spread measured 17 inches].
So on 9X power the DOA Reticle can not only provide a reliable means to aim at extended distances, but can help judge the relative size of a potential trophy rack. I see the Rack Bracket System particularly helpful on those once-in-a lifetime, expensive guided trophy hunts we all save up for. In the field the Rack Bracket System could make the most of those precious seconds when you must field judge whether or not to take the shot. Also, use the 24" and 17" measurements to gauge the buck’s width. If the ears fit, you have an accurate estimation of range as well.
It’s also convenient not having to use a coin or screwdriver to adjust the windage and elevation knobs, as they have been designed to easily rotate using your fingertips. And lastly, the incredibly generous 5 inch eye relief on this scope coupled with the “fast-focus
” eyepiece feature provides that “comfort” level to eliminate the fear of facial wacking magnum loads. Since I already install Butler Creek flip-open scope covers on all my hunting scopes, their inclusion with the TROPHY DOA 250
saves me a trip to the local shooting sports retailer as well.
As I can’t think of anything to improve upon or add to this specialized scope, my guess is it’s going to set a new standard upon which to judge other in-line muzzleloader optics.
Not a bad looking setup if I must say so myself with the optional CAMO finish. TROPHY XLT Riflescope3-9x40 RTAP DOA 250 [733960AB] CAMO FINISH (shown above on muzzleloader)
3-9x40 Matte DOA 250 [733960BP] BLACK MATTE FINISH
• With the DOA reticle for long-range accuracy and field judging.
• Fully multi-coated optics
• 91% light transmission
• Butler Creek® flip-open scope covers
• 100% waterproof, fogproof and shockproof
• Dry Nitrogen filled
• Fast-focus eyepiece
• One piece tube w/integrated saddle
• 1/4 MOA fingertip windage and elevation adjustments
Power / Obj Lens 3-9x 40mm
Length (in / mm) 13 / 330
Reticle DOA 250
Field of View (ft@100 ft. / m@100 m) 33/10@3x / 11/3@9x
Adj Range in@100yds/ mm@100m 60 / 1.7
Weight (oz. / g) 14.3 / 405
Exit Pupil (mm) 13.3 / 4.4
Eye Relief (in / mm) 5 / 127
Mounting Length (in / mm) 5.9 / 150
Click Value in@100 yds / mm@100m 0.25 / 7
For more information on BUSHNELL DOA scopes, visit their website at: