Bushnell has been producing optics for decades and I will be the first to admit that they haven’t always been the best quality. But they are about the best you can get in a budget price range. In the specific case of this rangefinder, it is a budget option but when it comes to features it is actually very impressive!
Ease of Use
Starting off with the glass, since that is what most people will first notice. It isn’t the best or clearest. It does a decent job and for the ranges that most people shoot it is more than adequate for the task. It suffers a little from brightness issues as is usual in Bushnell optics so low-light can be a little problematic but for most of your hunting, you will likely never notice a difference.
The laser is standard for rangefinders, it’s the same power output as any of the more expensive brands that are available commercially. However it does some impressive things with that laser. Namely, It is ½ yard accurate and displays yardage in 1/10 yard increments using Bushnell’s ESP (Extreme Speed Precision) technology. This lets you get on target and get solid data fast!
The features don’t stop there though. It has an inclinometer which means it can give you true distance and line of sight distance to help you get right where you need to be. It also has a very simplified bullet drop compensator to help you get your shots off quick when time is important. Whether you are using a bow or rifle, it can give you the data you need to get you right on target.
No matter what your weapon of choice this is a good rangefinder to augment your skills just to give you that edge that we all sometimes need. With a push of a button, you eliminate human error in your shot and are ready to go. It’s as simple as that!
What does it do?
Let’s kick off with the high point of this rangefinder, the software! There are three distinct parts that make this unit function as well as it does. The first is the ESP software that provides incredibly fast and reliable feedback once you push the button. In fractions of a second, you can have data down to ½ a yard accurate which is at least twice what as accurate as what most units in this price range provide.
Follow that up with the ARC module that provides you with true distance out to 99 yards for bows and gives bullet drop and holdover for rifles in either inches, Mils, or MOA. It is almost impossible to find comparable technology in any rangefinder this price and often those costing much more. A rangefinder is good but a smart rangefinder is even better.
The third part is the Variable Sight-in mode that allows you to select what you are reading at a distance. You can set it to bullseye mode to get a true reading on a target in the open, brush mode will help you get a solid range in places where you are aiming through thick brush, and scan mode will let you get a variety of live data readings on the area around you. All of this adds up to a solid rangefinder with a lot of value.
Don’t mistake the VSI mode for a true ballistic computer, it doesn’t have the data to calculate that on its own. You have to set your ballistic information which isn’t the simplest process but it is very handy to have and worth the one time investment of time. You can set it for a variety of sight in distances and once you have your bullet-drop data entered, it will do the rest.
For standard features, the whole unit is waterproof which is very handy and has the more or less standard 6x magnification. There is no coating on the optics which saves in price but can cause some issues in certain light. This is a fairly standard unit in the additional features department.
Like most rangefinders, it is fully waterproof but lacks the rubber armor of some of the higher end models. It doesn’t need the armor to hunt in any environment though, it’s just to keep from damaging it by banging it around in your tree stand. It does come with a case which helps with protecting it during transport but should be treated with a little more gentleness than other rangefinders.
While this is a rangefinder loaded with features, it isn’t the be all end all, but it packs a lot into its 6oz size.
What doesn’t it do?
I really prefer a rangefinder set up for either rifle or bow. You tend to get more for your money if you specialize. Bushnell does offer models set up that way but if you hunt both seasons and want the most rangefinder for you money, a hybrid unit like this one is really a better buy. If you hunt just one season or the other, go with a specialized unit. You will be happy you did.
As I stated in the opening, this rangefinder has less than stellar glass. It works well at closer ranges in good lighting but if you stretch this rangefinder out to its max at 1000 yards you are going to have a hard time seeing the target, much less getting the laser to hit it.
Really, out past 600 yards you aren’t going to be able to get a good range reading on a deer anyway. If you shoot long range matches, you may want more and should probably consider a better rangefinder.
The Final Word
If you are on a tight budget and want to get the most for your money, the Bushnell Scout series are good, solid units that will work and do what you need a rangefinder to do. They are right between the simplest units and a full feature unit. It’s a comfortable area to be, especially at the price you can get them for right now.
If you want more in terms of calculations and exacting long range accuracy, there are far better units but you will pay a much higher price to get them.