Gear Review: Millet Designated Marksman Scope
by Jesse James, Editor-at-Large
- 18 MOA donut
- Illuminated reticle
- 1 MOA dot
- 1-4x magnification
- 24mm Objective diameter
- 30mm tube
- Waterproof to 3 ft. (tubes are completely waterproof, but not electronics)
- Fogproof -40F-140F
- 18 oz.
While it has been quite a while since I have had the privilege to contribute to MSO, rest assured I have been quite busy with rounding out my preps. Much has been going on with my life, including finishing up my last semester of law school and attempting to find a job in the “recovering” economy. No easy task, indeed. One of the major purchases I have made in the last few months has been a 1-4x optic for the dreaded black rifle. I have had several opportunities to test the optic and stretch it, and the rifle, out to its maximum effective range. So here goes.
The scope is heavier than I initially thought, however it is not noticeably heavy when mounted. I read of problems with the 1st generation having flecks on the inside of the glass, but have read nothing of the 2nd generation having the problem. The one I ordered was in the ATAC finish, and the finish is well done. The turrets are sealed and the elevation turret has a space for an extra battery to be stored in it. The brightest setting is extremely bright and can be seen in broad daylight with both eyes open, enabling the user to run it much like a red dot sight. The 1x setting is true zero magnification, something those with 20/20 vision will appreciate when shooting at close range. The stock scope caps are awful, but functional, and warrant immediate replacement. The power ring is has apparent resistance to turning, however not so much as to be a problem.
To mount the optic I used a Burris P.E.P.R. mount with 1” mount height. The eye relief for the scope warrants mounting it nearly as far forward as possible and the Burris mount does a good job of allowing the trigger puller to tailor the eye relief for his height. The final mounting spot was about ¾ down the picatinny rail, and taller users may need to mount it at the very end of the rail. The design of the mount allows an additional inch of distance past the rail, which may very well be necessary for taller individuals.
The scope adjustments are ½ MOA at 100 yards, and result in nice, positive engagement every click. The scope windage was dead-on out of the box, which allowed me to use about half the rounds to zero it (very beneficial considering the scarcity of ammo). The elevation was very low, but I suspect it was the height of the mount that effected it the most. I walked the rounds up at 25 yards and took it out to 100 yards a week later. In total it took about 20 rounds to zero and confirm zero from the initial mounting.
Real world use:
As much as I would love to put thousands of rounds down range to truly test the limits of the scope for MSO readers, at $.60/round it is not going to happen. In total about 200 rounds was put through the rifle with the scope mounted. I managed to drop the rifle from the back of a pickup truck while standing in the bed (don’t ask), and the rifle held zero. Before that, I threw the rifle on the ground several times to attempt to knock the scope out of zero. I attribute the robustness of the scope to its extra weight and the quality of the mount. The finish remained intact despite the abuse and speaks to the overall quality of it.
I shot the DMS at dusk, night and broad daylight at distances between 25-500 yards. Light transmission was more than adequate, and little if any fuzziness was noted even at 500 yards. Undoubtedly the DMS suffers from parallax, however even at 4x, the error is incredibly minuscule The donut/dot reticule is ideal for a low power scope and makes target acquisition incredibly easy. I found the highest brightness setting unnecessary even in broad daylight and the never went beyond halfway on the brightness setting.
Having shot through Leupold and Swarovski scopes previously, I expected some very real differences in the lens quality. I have continued to be impressed by the current generation of “low-end” scopes. The light transmission and lens quality of $200 scopes has, in my opinion, significantly increased in the last several years. While higher end scopes will undoubtedly have extra options and marginally better lenses, it is increasingly becoming a decision of diminishing returns. While higher quality scopes shine at higher magnification, I fail to see the need for your average shooter to spend $1000+ on a 1-4x scope. Other options certainly exist among sub-$500 scopes and I encourage you to not be sucked into the brand or dollar hype that is so prevalent among the gear-queer crowd. Most would be better off spending $300-$500 on a scope and taking a tactical carbine class than getting a $1000 scope that they are unable to utilize effectively. I firmly believe this scope will outshoot me at the moment, and I know for a fact that I am far from being a slouch in that area. I am also highly doubtful of my survivability of a situation that would destroy or significantly damage the scope.
I highly recommend this for a beginner scope if you are just getting into 3-gun or this is the initial optic you are putting on your AR. I would not recommend this for a FAL/SCAR or other 7.62mm semi-auto, unless the build is being specifically tailored for short to medium range engagements. The 4x simply does not provide enough magnification to truly utilize the round to its maximum effectiveness.
In closing, Bushnell is now the parent company of Millet scopes. As such, Millet scopes have a lifetime warranty, provided you do not take apart the scope. I suspect this explains much of the rise in quality of Millet scopes the past few years. If you are considering buying a Millet, I would take care to ensure you are getting the most recent generation of the scope, and not an older generation. This is true particularly if you are considering buying one used. If the internet warriors are to be trusted, there is a serious difference between ones built before 2008-2009 and the current generation. The bottom line is the Millet DMS is a solid performer and one of the best scopes for the money. While it does have a few drawbacks, all are minor issues and are far outweighed by the benefits. For the shooter on a limited budget, I highly recommend it.