Ever since I started sniping magpies with my Remington M700 VSSF 22-250 early in the 90s, I’ve had a need for a rangefinder. They’re indispensable when sighting in, hunting longer ranges and, of course, challenging mates on, “How far away do you reckon that is?”
I’ve had my current unit for maybe nine years (Leica Rangemaster 800), which has been uber-reliable. I chose it for its then super-compact size and excellent optics – it’s often used as a low-power monocular in the bush. So, when the latest Bushnell arrived for me to review, I was keen as mustard to see how it stacked up and to check out its new features.
Immediately on opening the box, I noticed two things: one, what a great (silent-opening) pouch it comes with, and two, how small this unit is. It’s smaller – albeit slightly fatter – than the Leica and ergonomically, much better shaped.
I need no longer worry about optical quality – while reading local street and business signs up and down the highway outside home, I cannot discern any difference between the Leica and this Bushnell; that’s impressive for an LCD display unit. This is the primary reason I’ve stayed away from LCD display rangefinders before – looking through the display usually isn’t optically very good, and it dims the image quite a lot too. However, this unit’s viewfinder is slightly brighter than my aging Leica, even after I gave the old lenses a good clean to ensure a fair fight.
Benefits and Features
For the rifleman, whether you’re into long range or just hunting the hills, it’s handy to know distance. And it makes you a better shot too. For those into long-range shooting and reloading, this unit will Bluetooth connect to your smartphone and engage directly with the Bushnell Ballistics app, and once programmed with your known ballistics and even weather and wind data, will provide – in Mil or MOA – your holdover. It’s all spelled out on the downloadable instructional manual, which you can find on www.bushnell.com, or just Google it … trust me, the full link isn’t one you’d want to type!
The RRP is $869.99, so it’s not cheap but it is VERY good. I can’t think of anything it doesn’t have.
Features that make this unit appealing to a bowhunter:
- It’s small, and easily operated with one hand.
- It has a quiet-opening belt case or chest lanyard.
- Readings can be set to yards or metres – whatever you’re used to.
- Scrub (bush) mode displays the furthest of any multiple readings that may be the result of ranging through some trees/branches to an animal on the other side.
- Archery mode displays both actual distance, angle and, importantly, lateral distance (calculated by a built-in inclinometer) – the latter is what your sight should be set to.
- Scan mode takes constant readings while the button is held down.
- Can range short distances – the closest I’ve got was 4.9m!
- Battery compartment can be opened without coin/tools.
In fact – it’s so appealing, I’m buying and keeping this unit.