Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Bushnell Fusion 1600 Rangefinder Binoculars Review


Good build quality and optics with fantastic rangefinding performance at a third of the price of the nearest competitor.

Earlier this year I bought a pair of Leupold RXB-IV Rangefinder Binoculars. The first time I took them out I managed about 3 or 4 readings before the battery went flat. No big deal I thought, must have come with a duff battery. I was initially impressed that they came with a battery but anyway......... I replaced the battery and tried again only for the same to happen again. The same happened the third time. I though the chances of three batteries being flat are slim so I did an internet search for Leupold RXB faults which returned quite a few results of people experiencing similar problems, including one review that said out of 21 units 11 were defective!

I contacted the Sportsman Gun Centre where I bought the Leupold's and explained the situation. They arranged to send them back for repair or exchange. After about a month I got a reply that because they were no longer being made they could not be repaired and did I want to swap them for one of Leupold's rangefinder monoculars? NO! There was a reason I bought binoculars and not a normal monocular type range finder. I like to carry as little gear around with me as possible and the bino's are 2 in 1.

After a bit of haggling with SGC I negotiated a deal to pay a bit more towards a pair of Bushnell Fusion 1600 Rangefinder Binoculars (I would just like to say at this point what great service I received from SGC. They bent over backwards to sort the problem as quickly as possible).

Now for the review bit. I've been using the Bushnell's now for about 6 months and I am very impressed. The optical quality is not quite swarovski standard but they are not far behind and for the money they are brilliant.

A while back I used them during an unknown distance comp out to ranges of 800+ yds on steel fig 11 targets. It was quite a foggy day and other people using Leica Geovid's and similar were struggling to get readings through the conditions but the Bushnell's works flawlessly in all but the worse fog. As long as you could see the target it would give you a reading.

The best reading I have had so far from them is 1536yds off a tree trunk which is pretty amazing when you consider that Bushnell only claim performance on trees etc (non-reflective targets) out to 1000yds. Previous rangefinders I've owned have never been as good as the manufacturer claims but in this case they actually exceed the claimed performance.

The SCAN, Brush and BullsEye modes are nice features too. Depending on what mode you have them in (which is easy to select with the 2 button operation) you can set them up to ignore certain targets. The different modes are described in more detail in the instruction manual.

All the controls and adjustments are easy to use even with gloves on. They are big enough to be easily worked but not so big as to be accidentally operated. The unit as a whole is mostly well though through.

  • Rated range from 10 to 1600 yards
  • Bow mode: provides line-of-sight, angle and true horizontal distance from 10-99 yds
  • Rifle mode: provides line-of-sight, angle, and bullet-drop info for most of today’s popular calibers
  • VSI (Variable Sight-In) allows sight-in distance options of 100, 150, 200 or 300 yards sight-in distance in rifle mode
  • Continuous scan and prioritization modes to go with the first return or distant returns
  • 10x magnification
  • 42 mm objective lens
  • Selective Targeting System - Automatic SCAN, BullsEye & Brush modes
  • Multicoated optics and RainGuard (R) lens coating for maximum performance
  • Uses 1 CR2 lithium battery for long life
  • Accurate within 1 yard

Well, that's all the good bits but I do have a few niggles with the Bushnells.

One thing I liked about the Leupolds was that they gave you the horizontal distance equivalent out to their maximum range. The Bushnells will only give you this out to 99 yds in bow mode. Admittedly you can use the built in ballistic calculator to give you the corrected drops but these are only for standard cartridges at certain velocities and chances are that your calibre won't match exactly. I prefer to use my own drop charts anyway which is why I would like to know the horizontal distance. The Bushnells do give you the angle though so it's not difficult to work it out.

Depending on how close your eyes are together the display will be at an angle. The display is designed so that the display is level when the bino's are at their widest. If the lenses are any closer together it appears at an angle. Again, I'm being pedantic really but still it would be nice if it were level.

The display can be quite dull if it is a bright day or at certain backgrounds. It is still readable (just) in the brightest conditions but a if it were a little brighter it would be better.

They are heavier than your average bino's of a similar size but then they are lighter and less bulky than a pair of bono's and a separate range finder. This is also partly due to the excellent build standard. They do feel as though they are well put together and could stand a fair amount of abuse. Good for me as I am good at breaking kit.

  • Quality Optics
  • Performance at very long range
  • Price
  • Lot of features
  • No need to carry a separate rangefinder
  • Variable Sight-In
  • Build quality
  • Fairly heavy
  • Display at an angle depending on distance between lenses
  • Only gives horizontal distance out to 99 yds
  • Display could be brighter

1 comment:

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