Subscribe to NZGUNS

Register and subscribe to view unlimited premium content.

Lighten up with Bushnell’s Forge 10x30 Binos

By Nik Maxwell

Looking for a set of lightweight and light on the pocket binos?! Then the new Bushnell Forge 10x30s might just be the pair for you.


For many years, NZGUNS has enjoyed a solid working relationship with Bushnell NZ and due to that, I’m often reviewing their products. Sure it is nice to test out the top brands with the top price tags, however, the reality is most of us, myself included, simply don’t have the budget to fork out several thousand dollars on high end gear. For this reason, NZGUNS regularly reviews a broad range of Bushnell products covering their whole price spectrum.


This isn't to say that Bushnell isn't high quality, it is. Bushnell has an excellent reputation for producing quality optics and gear that covers the middle to lower tier price range currently available in NZ.



The Bushnell Forge 10x30s are best described as a pocket size optic with weight and compactness front of mind. Measuring just 122mm long and weighing just 388g, they are truly compact. Owing to this is the roof prism set up which is favourable for binocular manufacturers seeking to reduce both weight and bulk.


The outer protection is a soft rubber armour. It has a tan colouring akin to a Desert style appearance that Bushnell call "Terrain". There is a light stippling on the rubber that improves both grip and handling.


The Forge 10x30s can be folded to further reduce their overall bulk.


The Black plastic barrel bridge and eyecups offer a stylish contrast between that and the rubber on the barrels. The 10x30s pack all the usual features and accessories you would expect such as retractable eyecups, a central focus dial, diopter adjustments, carry bag and neck strap.


On the glass side of things, Bushnell utilise an array of tech; EXO Barrier Protection, ED Prime Glass, PC-3 Phase Coating, Dielectric Prism coating and of course are fully multi-coated all of which work to provide the user with the best view possible.



My first foray in the hills with the binos was a 4-day, late rut hunt in the Lower Kaipo. While not exactly your typical glassing terrain, there are some sizable, semi-open gullies that you can glass across from one side to the other.


A small pair of binos is also great for looking ahead into areas you are stalking towards. Binos have that ability to create a layering/separation effect that brings objects into view. There is probably a technical term or explanation for this but I’m sure anyone who has spent some time behind the glass will know what I mean!


Glassing for game in dense beech forest sounds like an unproductive way to find a deer but you may be surprised at how much you can see through the canopy and onto the forest floor when looking across from one face to another. A pair of binos really opens things up.


A heavily bush clad face. Closer inspection through binos will often reveal plenty of openings through the canopy and onto the forest floor.


The 10x32s were ideal in this bush stalking situation, their small size made handling easy and because of that I found myself using them often when looking into gullies or further along into the bush ahead.


The full detail of that trip appeared in the Sep/Oct (#174) issue of the magazine. It’ll be available to read on the site in the near future.


My next trip was into an area perfect for glassing - the Southern Kaimanawas. Another 4-day hunt into an area I’ve been hunting for many years. This is very open country with huge areas of tussock that are littered with pockets of bush. It is a bush edge hunters dream! You’ll find a report of that trip by clicking the link below.


Sika Hunting Tips & Info: Southern Kaimanawas, Desert Rd, Sep 2019 


Right, so how did the binos perform in these two vastly different terrains. Pretty good to be fair. The general view was great with just the slightest amount of edge distortion. Colour reproduction was accurate, and the image was crisp and bright.


I was fortunate enough to get 3 clear evenings and mornings of glassing which provided me with ample opportunity to test out the little compacts. As expected, it was the low light conditions at dusk and dawn where the smaller objective binoculars begin to suffer. And the Forges were no exception.


The little compacts had done their job and aided me in the search for some deer. That is about all I can ask for.


If you’ve ever used a pair of 42mm objective binos and then gone to a 30mm or less, you’ll most certainly notice the difference. The smaller objective binos just can’t gather the same amount of light and this might be a deal breaker for some hunters who are looking for that last bit of light opportunity.


This is in no way a criticism of the binos themselves, just the compromise you’ll need to consider if in the market for some compact binoculars.


This typical Southern Kaimanawa bush edge provided an ideal glassing opportunity.


As previously mentioned, this area of the Kaimanawas offers some great glassing opportunities and I spent a lot of time in behind the Forge 10x30s searching for sika. It is during these extended periods of glassing that the focus adjuster on binos will receive a severe work out and I am pleased to announce that the dial on this model performed very well. Rotating the dial with my index finger was both comfortable and effortless. The wide bridge providing good finger support.


The end result was spotting a couple of sika stags during both early morning and evening glassing sessions and the even cooler part was that both animals were located with the binos. The little compacts had done their job and aided me in the search for some deer. That is about all I can ask for.



Sweet optics that are absolutely ideal for the weight and price conscious hunter. What I appreciated most about this pair of binos was how little I noticed carrying and handling them. They are very discreet, fitting easily within the confines of your hand. Due to this, I found that I was using them much more often, especially while bush stalking.


The Forge 10x30s should certainly be a consideration when next looking to upgrade your binos and particularly if the above is applicable to your requirements


Like all Bushnell products, they are backed by their Ironclad warranty.


Bushnell optics are distributed by Ampro Sales Ltd in Petone, check out their website for info on the entire range.




 Bushnell Forge 10x30 Binos 
Magnification X Obj. Lens 10x30mm
Color Terrain
Field Of View (M @ 1000m) 110m
Length 122mm
Weight 388g
Eye Relief 18mm
Exit Pupil 3mm
Close Focus 2m
Eye Cups Twist-Up
Prism System Roof
Prism Glass Bak-4
Lens Coatings Fully Multi-Coated
Protective Lens Coating Yes, EXO Barrier
Waterproofing Yes, IPX7
Extra-Low Dispersion Glass Yes, ED Prime
Phase Correction Coating Yes, PC3 Phase Coating
Dielectric Prism Coating Yes
Ultrawide Band Coating Yes
RRP NZD$749.99


Please Sign in or Register to comment

More in Gear

equipment hunting

Get more game?! Go backpacking, go self-sufficient

By Nik Maxwell

“It is an excellent way to hunt and will increase both your opportunities and success rate..."

apparel hunting

Alpina Nepal Boots

By Nik Maxwell

Where the rubber meets the road, and in this case, the rubber on your boots!

More from NZGUNS

community firearms law politics

COLFO Update: NZ First still on the fence re Arms Legislation Bill

By Nicole McKee, COLFO

So the Arms Legislation Bill is going back before Parliament before it rises for the election campaign...

accuracy rimfire

The Ruger American Compact .17HMR

By Luke Dixon

Periodically I am approached by someone for an opinion on what type of rifle to purchase...

firearms technology

New Firearms Guide 11th Edition!


The new edition of the Firearms Guide enables deep, complex searches of antique and modern guns...

A new version of this app/site is available. Click here to update.