Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 Review (Hands On Field Test)


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Let’s get real, the TRS-25 has been a long-time red dot sight for those who couldn’t pull the trigger on Aimpoints.

Though often said to be picked up for less than $100, Target Tamers purchased it online it for just less than $50. With the recommended riser, it was a bargain deal out the door. But, is it any good?

Hands on review of the Bushnell TRS-25 red dot sight

The Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 stands on its own merits without question. It has few features, but the intentional lack of extra bells and whistles paves the way for affordability. For the money, the bright 3 MOA dot, accurate adjustments, and commendable build quality equates to value.

This model looks exactly like the pics on Bushnell’s website and is the most recent model of the TRS-25 line.

For as little as it costs, considering that it racks up a bill of $80 (approx.) at full MSRP price, the TRS does a decent job as a range and varmint hunting sight.

Here’s my field test on the Bushnell TRS-25 and why I recommend it as a budget sight for those looking to stick to name brand gear without compromising on price.

Quick Overview...

What We Like: Build quality

What We Don’t Like: Should wear glasses

Best Uses: Plinking, Target Shooting, Varmint Hunting, Close-Range, Rimfire Rifles, Light to Heavy Recoil Rifles

  • Magnification: 1x
  • Coatings: MC (Multi-coated)
  • Eye Relief: Unlimited
  • Reticle: 3 MOA dot
  • Adjustments: 1 MOA
  • Battery Life: 5,000+ hours
  • Dimensions: 2.48” L / 3.6 oz
  • Mount: Integrated low-profile

Our Verdict: The Bushnell TRS-25 red dot sight will continue to survive being obsolete solely because of its value. Its low price point and creditable build quality provides the assurance that it has what it takes for range, recreational, and some hunting applications.

Who is the Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 Best Suited to?

Field testing the Bushnell TRS-25

The Bushnell TRS-25 red dot sight intentionally does not have motion sensor tech, auto-off, a 50,000-hour battery life, or night vision compatibility. This limits its practical use for various applications. However, it fits the need on range, varmint, and plinking rifles.

At the range, you can effortlessly reach out to 100 yards. For varmints, the 3 MOA dot size is best inside 100 yards in normal conditions. The lowest illumination setting is bright as it blooms in the dark and washes out the FOV visibility.

When it comes to affordability, it’s a red dot sight that has pure value. It’s a fully functioning sight that is the standard for quality at its price point.

YouTube video
See how the Bushnell TRS-25 compares to 6 other budget red dot sights in the video above!

How Does the Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 Perform?

I was overly impressed with the build quality of the Trophy TRS-25. Though I wasn’t intentionally abusing it, I was not gentle with it either. It is nitrogen-purged to keep condensation from forming on the inside and O-ring seals are seen around the turrets and the battery compartment cap.

As part of the hands-on process, I drenched it twice in every possible weak point, and it proved to be watertight. As expected, the lenses did not shed water as Bushnell does not disclose any exterior lens protecting coatings.

Update: After having used the TRS-25 multiple times in the rain from the time of the field test, the TRS-25 proves to only be waterproof when the turret caps are secured on the body. Although minimal, water leaked inside the RDS through the elevation turret and are visible on the lens as tiny droplets of water. It has not inhibited performance yet, but it does raise the question about its fogproofness and certainly adds to the disappointment of its performance in inclement weather conditions. Lesson learned: put the caps back on!

When it comes to alternatives in similar budgets that we paid for the Bushnell TRS-25, the field-tested CVLife 1x22x33 comes to mind. It has quite a few more features than the Bushnell but its turrets were close to pathetic. Though it held zero, it was only for 25 yards. With the TRS-25, I zeroed at 50 yards and took it to 100 with no problems.

Zeroed in TRS-25 at 50 yards with AR15 Confirmed with additional 3 shot groups
Zeroed in at 50 yards with AR-15. Confirmed with additional 3 shot groups.

For build quality and accuracy, the TRS is a workhorse dot sight. My hands-on field test was uneventful in terms of issues or problems. It’s built well, it works, and it’s cheap. For the money, it’s a winning optic for value.

Features & Benefits

Build Quality

Demonstrating build quality of the Bushnell TRS-25

Overall, the build quality of the Bushnell TRS-25 is the feature I was most impressed by. The emitter is in the 4 o’clock position, it’s lightweight at 3.6 oz and is only 2.48” in length. Though it’s micro in size, I like that the eyepiece is on the larger side at approximately 17-18 mm.

Demonstrating bulid quality of the Bushnell TRS-25

The turrets adjust in 1 MOA clicks. I found them to be adequately audible and tactile for a sight under $100 though the windage turret did seem a little soft.

You will need a tool (flat head screwdriver) to make adjustments as the caps themselves do not serve this purpose. That was a little annoying, but most importantly, it held zero. During the few trips I made to the range, I had no problem with getting right back on target and did not recap them throughout the entire field test process.

Bushnell TRS-25 is made in China

The budget Bushnell red dot sight is made in China as are so many other affordable optics.

Integral Weaver Mount

Bushnell TRS-25 attached via Low profile mount on Ruger 10 22
Low profile mount on Ruger 10/22

The TRS-25 has an integrated mount that fits to both Picatinny and Weaver rails. The drawback is that it is a low-profile mount and does not allow for removal to a riser. This can be remedied for use with sights by directly mounting it to a riser block purchased separately.

Bushnell TRS-25 low profile mount and Riser Mount bought separately
Low profile mount and riser mount (purchased separately)

Unlike other budget red dot sights that have removable mounts and often come with a multi-height mounting system (two mounts with different heights), the TRS-25 does not. The low-profile mount sat cleanly and comfortable for a consistent weld on a Ruger 10/22 – no riser needed.

Bushnell TRS-25 attached with riser mount with 3x magnifier
Mounted with UTG 3-Slot Riser Mount and Juliet3 Magnifier

However, co-witnessing with MBUS sights on the AR and using it with a 3x magnifier on a M&P 15/22 required a riser mount. UTG riser mounts are usually recommended with the TRS-25 when purchasing online. Following the recommendations, I bought the UTG 3-Slot Riser Mount for around $11.

Absolute cowitness with riser mount and MBUS sights

It’s a nifty mount and allowed for an absolute co-witness. Not once did the mounting system come loose even between different rifles.

Illumination

The Bushnell TRS-25 red dot sight has 11 illumination settings. They are on the bright side which is favorable for fast target acquisition. It is hard to pick up on white targets in bright, sunny conditions and obviously performs extremely well on dark objects, the terrain, and moving targets.

The illumination knob earns major brownie points with me as it’s not stiff nor too easy to rotate. I appreciate the ease of use of illumination knobs particularly the ability to rotate past the off setting (0) to max illumination.

The only drawback about the illumination is that it’s too bright in the dimmer intensities for my liking. To my eyes, there was very little difference between intensities 1-4, and this is a disadvantage for lowlight use.

Optical Quality & 3 MOA Dot

On average, most budget optics will not have FMC (Fully Multi-Coated) coatings. This remains true for the Bushnell TRS-25 as it only has MC (Multi-Coated) coatings. It has requisite optical quality for use in normal conditions.

Though not disclosed, I did observe a blue/green tint to the color fidelity. It’s not overly distracting but is noticeable. With one eye closed, it does make things look a little darker.

The 3 MOA dot size does make a difference as it’s slightly easier to see and pick up for faster shots on moving targets.

Extended Battery Life

Bushnell TRS-25 with CR2032 battery and cap

The Trophy TRS-25 takes a CR2032 battery and is included in the box. It cannot compete with longer-lasting alternatives like that of the field tested Vortex Crossfire, Sig Sauer MSR, or the Holosun HS403B. However, the TRS-25 is much more affordable.

The TRS has Bushnell’s Extended Battery Life technology, and it’s supposed to last 5,000+ hours. I’ve left it on max 11 illumination for at least a week, and every time I’ve come back to it, it’s bright and strong – no glitches or disappearing dot.

Changing out the battery a couple times a year is not convenient for the home defense or duty weapon but is an acceptable compromise for the range or varmint rifle that it’s well suited to.

Even so, it would be wise to keep a spare in your gear and not depend on it staying consistently on during non-use.

Limitations

Should Wear Glasses

Bushnell TRS-25 red dot sight

Generally, reflex red dots are usually a bit fuzzy and vision quality plays a large part in how that dot is seen. The Bushnell TRS-25 dot is round in shape, though it does have a modest starburst appearance that may be noticeable to those who don’t have vision problems.

If you have astigmatism or are near or far-sighted, you can see that dot as more than just a dot. This is the first red dot sight that I’ve had to wear my actual prescription glasses during use to get a workable, round shape that wasn’t so distracting.

So, if you wear glasses normally, it’s best to keep them on with the TRS-25!

Popular Questions

Is the Bushnell TRS-25 Waterproof?

The Bushnell TRS-25 has been nitrogen-purged for fogproof protection and sealed for watertightness. It has been left in light rain and drenched with 32 oz of water in all nooks and crannies and survived.
Waterproof testing the TRS-25

What is the Difference Between Trophy TRS-25 VS AR Optic TRS-25?

The perceivable difference between the Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 and the AR Optic TRS-25 is the included, integrated mount. The Trophy comes with a low-profile mount while the AR Optic comes with a high-rise mount.

What is the Difference Between Trophy TRS-25 VS AR Optic TRS-26?

Overall, the main differences between the TRS-25 and the TRS-26 is the push-button control, T1 high-rise mount, larger 26mm objective lens, user selectable auto-off, and 50,000+ battery life of the TRS-26. It’s also more expensive than the TRS-25.

Can You Use Flip Up Caps with the TRS-25?

In general, the Bushnell TRS-25 can take flip-up caps though it comes with rubber bikini caps in the box. Flip-up caps that fit the TRS-25 must be purchased separately.

I took the front lens (objective lens) cap from the Sig Sauer MSR red dot sight, and it fit both the front and rear (eyepiece lens) lenses adequately.
Can You Use Flip Up Caps with the Bushnell TRS-25

Conclusion

How do you beat $47 and some change for a red dot sight from an established optics manufacturer? I couldn’t, so I took advantage of the sale and bought the Bushnell TRS-25.

Tina field testing the TRS-25

Alternatively, you could spend $50 more and get something that could be longer lasting in battery life but is likely comparable in performance.

The TRS-25 for a long time was the red dot sight that was the affordable alternative before you hit Aimpoints.

Just because the affordable market is now flooded with even more options does not take away from the fact that the TRS-25 is not obsolete.

Further Reading

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