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One of the key components to accurately placing a good shot is knowing the distance to the target. That’s where Bushnell’s all-new family of rangefinders, the Prime 1300 and 1700 and Nitro 1800, come into play. And, one of the key components of laser rangefinders is being able to see your target. That’s where Bushnell’s Prime and Nitro laser rangefinders come into play.

Bushnell set out to improve what you see through your rangefinder, whether game animals, or competitive or practice targets.

 Bushnell’s new Prime and Nitro laser rangefinders provide enhanced light transmission, which translates into your being able to see better and in more detail. To pull this off, Bushnell went with an all-glass optics system (with 6X magnification) that is up to two times brighter than other rangefinders, plus they have an objective lens that is 50 percent larger, meaning more light enters the unit, which is the start of the whole viewing process.

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All the optics are fully multi- coated, which delivers bright, crisp images while preventing color fringing and blurriness on the outer edge of your sight picture. Plus, the optics are protected by Bushnell’s EXO Barrier Protection, a protective lens coating that bonds molecularly to the glass, repelling dust, water, debris, and other barriers to crisp viewing.With Prime and Nitro laser rangefinders, Bushnell set out to raise the industry standard to better meet the needs of hunters, while keeping prices at a reason- able level.

 “Typically, the industry norm in light transmission for laser rangefinders is around 40 percent,” said Bushnell Marketing Manager Matt Rice. “Our new rangefinders for 2019 now offer 70- to 80- percent light transmission at under $400. Generally, our sense is that consumers are not satisfied with the low-light performance they have been receiving. “ So, what does all this talk about enhanced light transmission mean to a hunter?

 “The brighter and clearer images essentially extend your vision in those early morning and late evening hours when animals are typically most active,” Rice said. “It also allows you to see more detail. So, for instance, you can better look at the mass of a buck’s antlers with- out having to use your binos. And you can also better see animals at a distance. No more guessing if that was the three- year-old buck you saw last year or the five-year-old you’ve been patterning on your trail cam.”

Bushnell has developed a well- received three-tier product line system: Prime, Nitro, and Forge, essentially a step-by-step good, better, best approach to optics where Prime sets the standard, Nitro is advanced, and Forge is at the expert level. (There is no Forge laser rangefinder yet but stay tuned.)


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Prime laser rangefinders are targeted for archery and rifle hunters (the model numbers of all Bushnell rangefinders are indicative of the range i.e. 1300=1300 yards, 1700=1700 yards) who require exact ranging in a variety of field conditions.

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The Nitro model is more for long-range shooters, which we are seeing more and more each day, as well as those who hunt in areas such as the western U.S. where, because of open geographic landscapes, shots may be taken at greater distances.


“Anyone in the market for an LRF with enhanced capability will want to look at these new units,” Rice said.

The unit design has also under- gone change, Rice said. “It’s much lighter and more ergonomic in the hand,” he said. “No more standard box shape. These have been purposely built to fit the hand, with or without gloves.”

And both feature Bushnell’s Angle Range Compensation (ARC), with integrated inclinometer, which accounts for the angle from you to the target, displaying true shooting distance on uphill and downhill shots. These units combine angle data with internal algorithmic ballistic formulas and displays true shooting distance, instantly solving the uphill/downhill problem with which hunters have struggled for years.

Both the Prime and Nitro units “use a customized processor and proprietary algorithms to ensure your distance is the same each and every time,” Rice said.

They both can be switched to either bow or rifle mode and also have brush, bull’s-eye, and scan modes.

Here’s how Rice explains it: Brush mode is, obviously, for using the rangefinder in heavy brush, trees, and other areas with such natural obstacles. Brush mode will take into account all objects between you and your target and will provide only a distance to the furthest, strongest reflective target, Rice said. Bull’s-eye mode is just the opposite. When you have a clear line of sight, no obstacles between you and your target, it will pick up the closest target you range. Scan mode is just that, he said. You hold down the range button and move the rangefinder around and it will identify ranges to multiple targets without refocusing, so you can quickly get ranges to different targets.

So, both Prime and Nitro laser rangefinders share all the quality components and features discussed here. Differences are on the technical side.

Prime features Bushnell’s basic A through J ballistic solution, which contains data for the most common cartridges, barrel lengths, brand of rifles, and so forth, so commonly used ammunition/rifle combinations are covered.

Nitro laser rangefinders come with pre-installed Applied Ballistics Ultralight software, which covers ranges out to 800 meters, but there are options to upgrade the ballistic solution package for longer distances. The Sportsman package is for out to 1,600 meters or the Elite package for out to 5,000 meters. “The advantage of going to the Nitro software is if you are a custom handloader or dealing with a wildcat or new cartridge, or if you have a non-standard rifle configuration, you can enter that exact data into the Applied Ballistic data fields,” Rice said.


To learn more about Bushnell’s Prime and Nitro laser rangefinders, visit online at bushnell.com.

GEAR, OPTICSTerrence Gordon