Bushnell Prime 6-18x50 RiflescopeBy Nik Maxwell
- 31st Oct, 2019 Oct 31, 2019, 12:00 AM
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In May of 2018 Bushnell unveiled their new line of optics. Over 50 products were introduced making it Bushnell’s largest ever launch.
The new products are broken down into three categories – the top-level Forge, mid-level Nitro and the entry-level Prime. It is important to note that the new optics are completely new and not a ‘reskin’ of existing products. Bushnell is upping their game and it is pleasing to see that they have continued to innovate and expand on what is already a very good brand.
The Prime 6-18x50 is positioned in the entry-level scope bracket. First impression out-of-the-box is that this scope is long! Measuring in at 393mm, it will fill the space on most rifles. Finished in Black Matte, the scope is sleek and stylish, and hi-lighted by Bushnell and Bushnell PRIME logo/emblems at the front and rear.
Utilising a versatile 6-18x magnification range, it is the highest-powered scope in the Prime line-up. The 50mm objective allows for increased light gathering. The reticle is a Multi-X Crosshair (Second Focal Plane) and is essentially a standard duplex style set up. It is a little thick for my taste but not so much that it interferes with the sight picture.
“The adjustable clicks are audible and positive. The 6-18x50 features a whopping 40 MOA elevation and windage adjustment range, allowing you to dial away to your heart’s content.”
Standard features include a parallax adjuster from 15 yards to infinity, an exposed elevation turret and a capped windage turret, plus a fast focus eyepiece. The focus ring has a rubber eye cup protector fitted. In my experience these often begin to peel away and end up falling off after some decent bush bashing (unavoidable in the North...) and I would rather it was just solid aluminium like the rest of the scope.
The elevation turret is set up for dialling and while it features a return to zero it does not have a zero-stop function. To zero/reset the dial, simply unscrew the turret, remove it and rotate the internal brass dial back to zero, easy. The adjustable clicks are audible and positive. The 6-18x50 features a whopping 40 MOA elevation and windage adjustment range, allowing you to dial away to your heart’s content. The Bushnell Prime 6-18x50 is configured for 1 click – ¼ MOA at 100 yards. The turret and magnification ring markings are clear and concise.
My only gripe with the exposed elevation turret is that you cannot lock the turret in place. As such, you need to be mindful and check that it hasn’t rotated while you’re carrying the rifle, particularly when pushing through scrub etc. This is a little easier to watch for if you have made sure to reset the turret to zero. It isn’t much of an issue, just something to be aware of if you hunt rough country.
The magnification ring is deeply notched and has a functional protruding thumb lever to assist rotation. It is smooth to operate.
Bushnell has also introduced its new EXO Barrier™ lens protection coating, an upgrade from the older Rainguard™ coating that most of us are familiar with. Bushnell claims that this new coating “repels, water, oil, fog, dust, and debris. Even rain, snow and fingerprints won’t stick.”.
Seeing as water is arguably our biggest enemy when it comes to scopes and hunting, I was eager to put this claim to the test. So, after dousing the lens in water time and time again, the claim was solid. +/ – 95% of any water fell away from the lens with any movement. The fingerprint test held up fairly well also, with only small, barely visible impressions apparent after I pressed a thumb or finger on the lens. The EXO Barrier coating extends across the entire Prime, Nitro and Forge range of optics.
ON THE RANGE
For test purposes I fitted the scope to a Savage Model 110 Long Range Hunter chambered in 7mm Rem Mag that I was also reviewing at the time. (see NZG&H Jul/Aug 2019 Issue #173).
I felt that this would make a great combination as Bushnell describes the Prime 6-18x50 as an ideal scope for extended range hunting and shooting. Prior to hitting the range I bore-sighted the rifle with my Bushnell bore sighter. A few shots on paper at 25 metres to make sure I was on track and then out to 100m for my general hunting-distance zero.
From here I ran a simple round the target tracking test. Firing a couple of shots at the target I then wound the dials a full rotation to the right, down, left and then back to the original position. The scope tracked beautifully. After that I performed the obligatory full turret rotations from stop to stop and then back to the original 100m zero position. Another group and I was back on target, nice work Bushnell!
“Firing a couple of shots at the target I then wound the dials a full rotation to the right, down, left and then back to the original position. The scope tracked beautifully.”
My next hunting trip would involve some potentially longer shooting distances, so I set up dial positions for both 200 and 300 metres. With the Federal Premium 160gr Trophy Bonded ammo shooting consistent 1” 100m groups, it was a simple task to dial up accordingly. Within a short time period I had both the 200 and 300m dial positions sorted which with the Federal ammo ended up at 2 MOA (8 clicks) and 4 MOA (16 clicks) of elevation. Job done.
IN THE FIELD
I took the Savage Model 110 Long Range Hunter along on a four-day sika hunting trip into the Kawekas (NZG&H Jul/Aug 2019 Issue #173, Sika Hunting Tips & Info S3 – Kaweka Ranges, Spion Kop). Although I didn’t manage to secure an animal on this trip, I did get plenty of opportunities to check out the Bushnell’s first and last light capabilities.
On the second evening of the hunt at around 6.20pm, I spotted a sika hind feeding on the bush edge at just under 250 metres away. Even in her summer coat the hind blended in remarkably well among the foliage and shadows.
The large 50mm objective easily handled the lower light conditions really well and it was also now that I began to appreciate the thicker posts of the reticle. In this situation I felt confident to take a shot and if that hind had been a decent stag, I would have!
For a scope positioned in the $700+ price bracket, the Bushnell Prime 6-18x50 is well-suited for the hunter and/or shooter looking to begin the journey into extended range shooting. On that note, it is important to remember that this is an entry level riflescope.
Backed by Bushnell’s “Ironclad” warranty (In the case of their Prime riflescopes, that essentially means the product’s covered for up to 30 years against having any defects in regard to materials or manufacturing given normal use), it would be hard to look past the Prime 6-18x50 as a viable option for your next ‘price-point’ scope purchase.
Bushnell optics are distributed by Ampro Sales Ltd in Petone, so check out their website e.ampro.co.nz for info on the entire range.
|Bushnell Prime 6-18x50|
|Reticle||Multi-X Crosshair (SFP)|
|Magnification X Obj. Lens||6-18x50mm|
|Parallax Adj. Range||Adj. from 15 yd to Infinity|
|FoV (Ft @100 Yd)||18ft @ 6x to 6ft @18x|
|Elevation Adj. Range||40 MOA / 11.6 Mil|
|Windage Adj. Range||40 MOA / 11.6 Mil|
|Travel Per Rotation||15 MOA|
|EXO Barrier Protection||Yes|
|Ultrawide Band Coatings||Yes|
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