June 15, 2022
The year 2021 marks the 25th anniversary that Bushnell developed its laser rangefinder for hunting. Few people realize that Bushnell was a pioneer this category. In 1996, they launched a rangefinder that took the guesswork out of ranging for bowhunters and rifleshooters. During the next 25 years, they continued to innovate by introducing constant measurement, angle-of-attack compensation, and were the first to offer displays with hold-over information. (And they’ve also integrated Bluetooth.)
Bushnell intends to continue to write history with its introduction of the Fusion X 10x42mm rangefinding binoculars that features ActivSync display technology. ActivSync adjusts the illumination of the display according to the brightness or darkness of the background. What’s neat about this is that the system senses which part of the read-out is on a dark or light background and illuminates only that section. What makes this a great is that no matter where you point the binoculars during a hunt, the data in the display will always stand out and be readable. Using illumination only when needed is believed to create less eye fatigue, too.
Fusion X is designed for bow and rifle hunters alike. It includes Angle Range Compensation (ARC), so there’s no need to do any math to adjust holdover, even if your target is positioned below or above you.
There are a host of other technology features that make Fusion X ideal for hunting, including three targeting modes. Standard Mode with Automatic is a general-use mode that ranges up to 1,800 yards and provides a continuous reading when the Fire button is pressed. Bullseye mode limits the rangefinder to a smaller area so that you can isolate small game, as well as other targets in the distance. Brush Mode is used to ignore the brush and branches, so background objects become important ranging elements.
As would be expected, the lenses are multi-coated with barrier protection for excellent low-light visibility. Bushnell’s EXO Barrier lens protection repels oil, water, fog and dust. When paired with a waterproof rating of IPX7, it makes these binoculars one of the best choices for any condition.
The body is rubber overmolded, providing a grippy and quiet surface. And controls are simple; just two buttons.
Many shooters’ first experience behind a firearm is usually with a rimfire rifle. Rimfires make it easy to learn how to use guns safely and effectively. Of course, iron sights are a proven setup, but adding a scope opens up more shooting opportunities by giving the shooter a clearer view of the target and a refined aiming point. The result is better precision.
Bushnell’s Rimfire 3-9x40mm riflescope with the DZ22 reticle is new for 2021, and it’s sure to aid accurate shooting at distance. The reticle can provide a better understanding of ballistics.
The Rimfire riflescope is made of a single-piece aluminum body with a 1inch maintube. It is waterproof, has multi-coated lenses, a 40mm objective lens and capped turrets. This scope also has a magnification range from 3X to 9X. There are two versions of the Rimfire riflescope: one with an illuminated reticle and one without. The illumination model has six brightness settings with an off position in between each setting. This makes it easy to go back to your last setting without needing to travel all the way around the dial just to turn it off.
The Rimfire riflescope has a bullet drop compensating (BDC) reticle, meaning that when your scope is zeroed, you can use the dots below the horizontal stadia at specific yardage hold-over points at a certain magnification. To figure out how much yardage each dot represents, download Bushnell’s Ballistics app and create a rifle profile with the load you are shooting. Then select the Rimfire scope with the DZ22 reticle from the list. The solution screen will show the specific yardage for each dot. In my case, I zeroed at 25 yards and the dots represented 71, 91, and 114 yards.
To get an idea of how well this inexpensive scope worked, I spent two afternoons with the scope mounted to a Bergara BXR in .22 LR killing prairie dogs in Wyoming. The bullet drop reticle made transitioning from close to far a breeze and effective. The glass offered plenty of clarity and I wasn’t aware of any distortion in the field of view. At a retail price of $100 for the nonilluminated and $120 for the illuminated, the Rimfire is a great addition to any rimfire rifle.
Elite Tactical RIFLEScopes
The Elite Tactical DMR and XRS models have long been Bushnell’s affordable answer to precision rifle shooting. They earned a great reputation in the competitive arena for their return-to-zero turrets, accurate tracking and robust build. From the beginning, renowned precision rife builder and competition shooter George Gardner of G.A. Precision (gaprecision.com), has helped with the development of the DMR reticle.
The DMR3 3.5-21x50mm is a latest addition to the DMR line. Like its predecessor, it’s made from a single piece of billet aluminum that is turned down to a 34mm main tube. Inside is a front focal plane (FFP) reticle system controlled by turrets with 32 mils of elevation adjustment and 20 mils of windage adjustment. When it’s time to pack things up, the RevLimiter Zero Stop is reassuring. This scope is ideal for most long-range shooting. The DMR3 line has been reduced to one model, and it is only available with Extra Low Dispersion (ED) glass that reduces color fringing and affords a sharp image.
The DMR3 has been updated with several welcome enhancements that make it a top choice in this $1,500 price level. For example, the multi-position Throwhammer is a knurled knob that provides you leverage to find your ideal magnification fast. The parallax dial has been reduced to 25 yards for more precise clarity, and the turret markings are bolder and easier to read than ever before.
Although those features are great, the star of the show is the new G4P reticle. The updates to the reticle are what many competition shooters have been asking for. The G4P reticle has a floating-dot center for an unobstructed view of the target while still offering a precise point of aim. The horizontal stadia is thinner out to the 2 mil mark, which means that the stadia covers less of the target when zooming in at higher magnification. And to provide shooters the capability for more specific wind holds, the reticle subtends to .25 mil from the center of the reticle to the 1 mil mark. From 2 mil and beyond, it subtends to .5 mil. The hold-over marks from the G3 reticle remain at 1.20 mil, and 1.5 mil along with the .1 mil ranging marks that appear beyond the 8-mil line.
The lower half of the G4P stadia is an improvement, too. It shares the same thin line and .25-mil marks out to 1 mil, but the G4P reticle now includes floating wind dots spaced in .5-mil increments for easy hold-over alignment.
The XRS3 6-36x56mm has changed a lot since the XRS2. The magnification range has jumped from 30X to 36X, and it has received many of the upgrades mentioned in the new DMR3. Bushnell has gone to great lengths to make sure that the high end of the magnification is clear and usable, too, with parallax adjustable from 50 yards to infinity. The total elevation and windage adjustments are slightly different, also, with the elevation topping out at 28 mils and windage at 16 mils. It carries the ED Prime glass, multi-coated lenses and EXO Barrier.
With the new G4P reticle in both, the $1,500 DMR3 and $1,700 XRS3 offer toughness, clarity, and repeatability. As of this writing, only a non-illuminated G4P reticle is available in DMR3 and XRS3.
Bushnell has relaunched the Elite 4500 line of scopes, which are designed for hunting. They offer 4X magnification and include: 1-4x24mm, 2.5-10x40mm, and the 4-16x50mm. Prices range from $230 to $300. These lightweight scopes feature the Multi-X duplex reticle; Ultra-Wide Band Coatings; EXO Barrier protection; and are rated IPX7 waterproof. They include a Fast-Focus Eyepiece and capped turrets.
For night hunting, Bushnell also revealed the Equinox X650 night-vision monocular. This small handheld night-vision device has a built-in illuminator with a reach out to 650 feet. It has a 5X optical zoom and a 9X digital zoom. The unit works in daylight and night and saves images or video to an SD card. It has a run time of up to 6 hours on AA batteries and can be powered through a USB cable. It is feature rich for $170. I was surprised by the detail and the distance I could see at night.
What makes Bushnell’s new products great is that they are full of features that I’ve run out of room to describe. They are all useful for the product’s core task; there’s no fluff or useless flare. Bushnell’s Lifetime Ironclad Warranty assures that they will fix or replace it, even in the unlikeliness that the product develops a problem with normal use.
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