Behind the Scenes With Burris Optics

Burris Optics develops products that provide consumers with accuracy, durability, innovation and value while backed by a lifetime of reliable performance, guaranteed forever.

Behind the Scenes With Burris Optics

Burris Optics was founded in 1971 with a varied line of optics for hunters, law enforcement officers, competition shooters and recreational users. This includes riflescopes and sights for hunting, competition and law enforcement, handgun scopes, binoculars, spotting scopes, mounts and accessories.

New for 2020 is the Eliminator IV, the latest in the Burris line of laser rangefinding riflescopes. The Eliminator IV extends the range to 2,000 yards, feeding critical data via an upgraded computerized calculator and Bluetooth laser activation. That technology has been used in the Burris Oracle bowsight (photo above) to help hunters and shooters gain more information to make better decisions and ethical shots.

Recently, I talked with Dennis Phillips, marketing manager for Burris and a veteran hunter, about the Oracle bowsight and the company.


AB: Burris has long been known for its optics in the firearms world. What spurred Burris to get into the bowhunting market?

DP: We’ve had our Eliminator laser rangefinding scope for more than 10 years, so we have a lot of experience with rangefinding and ballistic compensation. The Eliminator incorporates a rangefinder with a ballistics computer that will tell you not only the distance to your target, but also a precise aiming point based upon the cartridge and load you are shooting. Once you’ve found your target, a dot will appear below the crosshair to show your exact aiming point for your bullet.

If you’re out West facing a 300- or 400-yard shot, this removes the guesswork and holdover so you can make a more ethical shot. For heavy bullets that have a big trajectory curve, it makes a big difference.

We’re definitely not advocating taking unethical long-range shots with a gun or a bow. But for someone who may encounter distances longer than accustomed to, this can help you make the shot of a lifetime.

With all that in mind, the technology we developed for the Eliminator is now available in the Oracle bowsight. The Oracle works just like the Eliminator. You range the distance to your target, and the sight calculates the trajectory of your arrow and presents a single aiming point. With a traditional pin sight, if you’re at 44 yards, you have to decide where to aim between the 40- and 50-yard  pins. You don’t have that issue with the Oracle. Just place the single dot where you want your arrow to impact.

Also, you can program two arrows — one with field points for practice and another with the broadhead you use to hunt.

The Burris Oracle bowsight provides a precise distance measurement to your target, as well as a single aiming point.
The Burris Oracle bowsight provides a precise distance measurement to your target, as well as a single aiming point.

AB: Some states have restrictions or laws about these kinds of bowsights, right?

DP: Yes. Anyone using an Oracle should check their local laws and regulations. It is not approved for use in many western states. It’s approved for use in most Midwest, eastern and Southeast states. But bowhunters definitely need to check the regulations before using it.


AB: I’m a dealer and tell you, “I can’t sell this. My guys don’t use fancy technology.” What would you say to them to change their mind?

DP: Based on the retail price, this isn’t for everyone. When it was launched at the ATA Show last year, we made it easy for dealers to stock and carry. If the Oracle bowsights weren’t sold by October, dealers could return them with no problem. Most dealers bought three, one for a demo bow with two to sell. We didn’t have any come back in autumn, so the sell-through at retail was good.

Bowhunters today invest a lot of money on bows and equipment. The new Oracle is a good match for the latest high-end bows. Dealers also told us they typically have a customer who always buys the latest technology; if they purchased an Oracle, their friends would buy one, too.


AB: What was the testing process like for the Oracle? New hunting items usually get put through the wringer in a building in torture tests and then out in the field, too. Was that the case with it?

DP: It was, but it also was a learning curve for us. We have decades of experience in designing and building riflescopes. Bowsights are a little more complicated. We took the time to make sure the Oracle was up to Burris’ standards for quality and reliability.

There is a lot more torque and vibration on a bow when you release an arrow than you might believe, and that affects bowsights. Compared to traditional riflescopes, there were more things to consider in product design and construction.

The laser rangefinder on the Oracle needs to be perfectly aligned with the sight window, so you’re always ranging your target. It has to maintain that alignment, even after multiple shots in all kinds of conditions. We tested it in a wide range of temperatures, from extreme cold and humidity to dry, blazing summer heat. A lot of testing and refinement went into it before it was ready to launch.

AB: Is this the new normal for hunting, an increase in technology?

DP: I think so. You’ll see more innovations like this in the outdoors industry as technology continues to evolve and improve. We’ll certainly see that with archery products. There are opportunities to grow in the archery segment. Bowhunters always have been open to new products and technology. They are willing to try different things to gain an advantage in the field.


AB: How has the coronavirus affected the supply chain and manufacturing for Burris?

DP: We were considered an essential industry, so we never had to close or furlough employees. In Greeley, Colorado, we employ about 120 people and still build some riflescopes in our factory. However, a lot of our products come from Asia, and like many companies, sourcing from offshore has been challenging. Shipments from Asia have been slow due to factories and ports being shut down, so it’s been tough from start to finish.


AB: Anything else you’d like to tell us about Burris?

DP: We’re excited about the success of the Oracle. It’s a unique product that extends your ability to take longer shots with more confidence. Look for the Oracle line to be expanded in the future as we leverage our technology and capabilities. We’re always trying to find ways to add more value and functionality.


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