July 16th, 2008

U.S. Army Orders Bushnell Laser Rangefinders

Bushnell 1500 RangefinderThe U.S. Army has awarded Bushnell Outdoor Products a multi-year, multi-million dollar contract for a special military version of the Elite® 1500 Laser Rangefinder. Bushnell will begin shipping the units in August 2008. According to Bushnell’s Director of Military Sales, the Army was impressed with the Elite 1500’s multiple targeting modes and rugged, waterproof construction.

The Elite 1500 is capable of ranging distances from 5 to 1,600 yards, though in our own tests, maximum effective range on deer-sized objects is about 700 yards. The elite has a 7-power, 26mm objective, with a special twist-up eyepiece that’s handy for eyeglass wearers. The eyepiece also boasts a +/- 2 diopter, a very good feature not found on some other rangefinders.

In addition to the standard ranging mode with automatic scan, users can select from the BullsEye™ or Brush™ modes for more precise ranging to targets. In the BullsEye mode, it’s easy to acquire smaller targets and game because if more than one object is acquired by the laser, only the closer of the two objects is displayed on the internal LCD. While using the Brush mode, closer objects tree branches are ignored so that the distance to background objects are displayed. The Bushnell also offers Angle-Range Compensation (ARC) in one of its civilian 1500 models. It’s unknown whether the military version will have this feature.

Bushnell Elite 1500

Rangefinder Comparison Review
AccurateShooter.com has an extensive multi-product Rangefinder Comparison Review. Before choosing a Laser Rangefinder (LRF) you should read that article. It compares the Bushnell Elite 1500 to LRFs from Leica, Leupold, Nikon, and Swarovski. In our comparison test, the Elite 1500 was praised for its speed, its diopter eyepiece, and its waterproof housing with Rainguard® lens coatings. Users said the “Brush” setting worked well, filtering out “false returns” from short range. On the downside, Bushnell’s beam divergence is greater than Swaro or Leica, so long-range performance suffers. Bushnell’s own Product Description describes its ranging performance as: “Reflective–1600 yards; Tree–1000 yards, Deer–500 yards, Flag–400 yards”. The optics are a grade below Swaro, Leica, and Nikon, and retailers have reported higher rate of return (10+%) than other brands.

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