I walked into the booth not knowing much about Bushnell. They’re sold at Wal-Mart so I have always assumed Bushnell was a lower tier brand, but after borrowing a pair of laser range-finding binoculars at a class last year and being impressed with their performance (if not with the image quality) I wanted to learn more about the product line.
So I went by the Bushnell product booth, learned that they have over 130 new SKUs this year, and was overwhelmed. Here’s what I thought was noteworthy:
This is an update of the product that made me aware that Bushnell made some products I liked. Originally these offered a heavily tinted blue/green view that was kind of unimpressive. The impressive part of the product was the build quality, the accuracy of the ranging, and the likeihood of getting a good reading on the first try.
Now they’re introducing the Fusion 1 Mile models of Binocular, capable of ranging to 1,760 yards as the name indicates. Image quality is much better than before (the weird tint was eliminated after listening to customer feedback), and the data display was quite compelling — bright LEDs, very legible and readable, good targeting indicator. As of March 1st these will be available in 8×32 (MSRP $999), 10×42 ($1,199), and 12×50 ($1,299).
I’m getting a pair, even though I came to SHOT looking to compare the Swarovski vs the Leica. The value proposition for the Bushnells is just too high to ignore.
Team Primos Laser Rangefinders
The Scout DX ranges a bit farther (1,000 yards) and costs a bit more ($299).
The AR Optics Line
Bushnell has eighteen new scopes designed for use on carbines, ranging from a true 1-4 power (for $299 if my notes are correct), to a standard 1-4 power, all the way up to 4.5-18 power. These all offer a BDC reticle.
Image quality was good – there was nothing wrong with any of the optics I saw in the AR Line, but today was a long day and 3 photos was all I was willing to take.
There were two red dots on display worthy of note:
The First Strike is shown above. I neglected to note the price, but I wasn’t as impressed with the quality as I thought I would be after seeing the rangefinders and AR Optics.
The TRS25 was pretty usable. The cost was reasonable too – under $200 including the high-rise mount shown here.
I don’t know anything about trail cameras, but some of y’all might care. Bushnell considers itself something of an innovator in this area, some of the features they offer include:
- 1 year battery life with AA batteries
- IR capture and flash. Not noticeable, whether the model comes with the IR filter or not.
- 0.6 second trigger time
- All cameras are 8 megapixel
- Hybrid capture mode, where a still image is captured, followed by 10-60 seconds (configurable) of video
- Sensor range > 60′
- Field scan 2x: apparently you can configure your trail camera so that it will capture a photo every XX seconds or minutes between hours you set. So if you want a photo taken every 2 minutes between 5:30am and 7:30am whether something triggers the camera or not, you can do it.
The Trophy Camera HD has an MSRP of $200.
Elite Tactical Spotting Scope
This was a nice scope. I can’t directly compare it to something like a Leupold Mk 4, but they’re close. Eye relief even at maximum power was very good — much better than the Vortex scopes I looked at earlier in the show.
Bushnell thinks this will be a good scope for the Marine Corps and will be submitting it for consideration. This has 8-40 power, and retails for either $1,699 with no reticle or $2,199 with a Horus reticle.
New Elite Tactical Scopes
The Elite series is Bushnell’s best line, and is priced like it. I looked at two scopes in this line today, the 3.5-21×50, and the 4.5-30×50. Specifications on both models were similar:
- Both are available in black or FDE (FDE shown here)
- Zero stop feature included
- Elevation and windage knobs use a push/pull system to lock.
- FFP reticle
- G2 (GAP) reticle available.
- The 4.5×30 was short — 13″ total length
Now, I’m something of a US Optics bigot because I really like the features and build quality. I’ve also recently reviewed the Vortex Viper PST and Sightron lines, and I’ve been paying attention to the optics that have been on display at SHOT. It was also a long day today, and we’re essentially trying to make observations about optics in a dimly lit warehouse with lots of visual blocks that keep one from really letting the optics reach out.
With all that said, these seemed to be quality optics worthy of being compared to the top brands. Optically they seem great, and the build quality is top notch. Include them in your search to see if the features you need are there. You might be really surprised with Bushnell.