I had been eyeing up a new range finding optic for my bow, and the Burris Oracle X offered tried and tested technology. The Burris Oracle X is a vertical bow sight that ranges targets, provides a precise aiming point, and calibrates angles into the equation. Burris introduced its Eliminator range finding riflescope over a decade ago. Popular with hunters and long-range shooters, the proven technology has been integrated into archery sights and scopes with positive results.
Making arrangements for a hunt in South Africa with Mike Birch at Hunt the Sun he encouraged me to bring my TenPoint Flatline 460 crossbow. Mike’s encouragement and the fact that the Northern Cape is teeming with game made it easy to pack my horizontal bow. It had been hot and dry, and the animals would use the watering holes, ideal places to hunt archery from a blind.
Days before leaving for my trip, the Burris Oracle X arrived on my doorstep. I did not have time to set it up but packed it in my crossbow case to take overseas. When I arrived at hunting camp, the excitement saw me head to the field with my crossbow set up with the EVO X Marksman scope. A couple of big critters hit the ground, and a few escaped before there was a shot opportunity. I couldn’t help but wonder if the Oracle X would allow me to stay focused, ready for a shot, and not be required to move or range at the last minute.
My Professional Hunter (PH) and I set up the range finding optic. Taking off the EVO X scope and fastening the Oracle X to the Picatinny rail took less than two minutes. Two bolts fasten snuggly and hold the optic in place. A CR123 lithium battery was installed, and the optic lit up, ready for programming.
We started at 10 yards and checked the angle of the crossbow to the target before launching the first arrow. A close-range target minimizes any windage and elevation corrections. The farther your shot, the more variance there is from the bull’s eye. As it turned out, the arrow hit relatively low and required a significant elevation adjustment to bring it up. A second arrow showed progress, and a third shot placed the arrow just off the center of the target. One last elevation and a small amount of windage put the next arrow on the “X.”
I was shooting a 16-inch PowerPunch arrow and 150-grain SEVR Robusto broadhead. We confirmed the accuracy at 20 yards and started to program the optic. The optic allows two different arrow and broadhead combinations to be programmed. Bolt one would be my heavy African hunting arrow. The heavier combination would be advantageous for some of the heavy-boned critters we were hunting. The optic was set to read in yards but has a meter option for metric system users.
Trajectory calibration was started for four known distances. The 20-yard target was confirmed and verified to be accurate. The target was moved to 30 yards, and a shot was fired. The arrow struck about seven inches high. The calibration system is easy to use, and following the menu instructions in the eyepiece, we moved to “Truing.” Two dots lit up on the reticle. The bottom dot was placed on the bull’s eye. The second dot was moved up and over to the point of impact where the arrow sat in the target. With the crossbow held still, the bottom dot showed precisely where I aimed, and the second dot covered the nock on my arrow. We set the range value and fired two more arrows to confirm they were dead-on at 30 yards.
We followed the same procedure at 40 yards and again at 50 yards. Four distances can be verified in the optic, providing precision aiming when the calibration process is complete. I aim to set up the second arrow profile for long-range target shooting. I don’t particularly appreciate hunting over 50 yards, as too much can go wrong. A single step by an animal can mean the difference between a clean kill and tracking a wounded animal. Practicing on targets of 100 yards is fun and teaches proper form and trigger engagement. It also helps simplify shooting shorter distances when the prize is venison for the table.
We verified precise aiming points at different ranges and always hit exactly where we aimed. It was time to go hunting.
Tucked into a blind about 20 yards from a watering hole, we waited for something to come for a drink. As the sun started to set, a springbok ram appeared and quickly pranced toward us.
The dainty animals would require precision shooting with a small vitals area. I hit the “Fire” or range button when the ram stopped. The scope told me the ram was 36 yards and provided an aiming dot on the reticle. I tightened up on the trigger, and the arrow launched, hitting the springbok exactly where I aimed. The ram ran about 50 yards, and we found it in the thorny brush. To say I was excited about the new technology and equipment was an understatement. The Oracle X simplified hunting when seconds and movement count. There was no need to use an external rangefinder or take my eye out of the optic to monitor the situation. Following the animal with the scope, ranging, and shooting was intuitive and accurate.
Our success made us anxious to return to the blind the following day. We watched an old waterbuck cow work towards us, and my PH told me to shoot her if I got the chance. The old girl was beyond breeding and would be considered a cull. A waterbuck is a big animal, and it was easy to range even at 80 yards. I was mentally preparing to shoot when some impala ran past the waterbuck. A dozen ewes and one big, old ram were in the herd, and our attention immediately switched to the trophy ram.
I was warned that impala is spring loaded and would likely jump the string. The ewes were nervous and ran in and out of sight for several minutes before the ram finally walked up. Initially, I could not shoot with ewes behind the ram, but when clear, I hit the range button and locked on the ram at 34 yards. My arrow zipped through the whitetail-sized antelope like a hot knife through butter.
Once again, the Oracle X provided pinpoint accuracy and proved easy to use. The optic has an electronic bubble level to show that the crossbow is not canted before shooting. It is interesting how quickly your brain can find and process information when you see it. The range is easy to read, but the shooter focuses on the aiming point, adjusted for inclination. An internal Inclinometer considers steep angles, making it an excellent option for challenging terrain or tree stands.
The range finding optic has a minimum range of five yards. The scope has variable power from 2 to 7, and the aiming point stays accurate and easy to see on any power. The battery life is good for 3,000 range activations and is easy to replace. The auto-brightness can also be manually adjusted to fine-tune your aiming point.
The Oracle X is lightweight with aluminum mounts. Lock screws hold it in place on a Picatinny rail. Elevation and windage adjustments are offered in the optic base in ¼ MOA.
The Oracle X technology comes from the Burris Eliminator Riflescope that has been on the market for over a decade with proven results. There is a range button on the top of the optic housing. However, a wireless remote can be placed anywhere on the crossbow for added comfort and reduced movement. There is a Forever Warranty that backs the Oracle X with no questions asked.
The Oracle X is 11.9 inches long, 2.95 inches wide, and 3.28 inches high. The center-to-base height is 2 inches, and the field of view on low power is 47 feet at 100 yards and on high 14 ft at 100 yards.
The Oracle X proved a valuable asset on the hunt and will stay on my crossbow for the spring black bear season through the fall big game seasons. It offers a giant step in technological advantages that cannot be overlooked. Knowing the exact range of an animal and being provided with hair-splitting accuracy aiming points will change the game of archery. Vertical bow enthusiasts will want to check out the Oracle bow sight for vertical bows, offering the same technology and advantages.