Bushnell Fusion 1600 ARC

Bushnell Fusion 1600

The ultimate in efficiency, our new Fusion 1600 ARC melds the best of Bushnell® binoculars with world-leading laser rangefinding capabilities. And it’s no larger or heavier than a pair of 10x 42mm binoculars. Every detail is magnified with rich contrast and stunning clarity from edge to edge using premium fully multi-coated optics and BaK-4 prisms. At the push of a button, it displays exact distance to your target from 10 to 1,600 yards. Built-in ARC Bow and Rifle Modes deliver the “shoots-like” horizontal distance, plus bullet-drop and holdover information. With new Vivid Display Technology, RainGuard® HD antifog coating and a fully waterproof design to ensure reliability and clarity in all conditions. It’s the best of all worlds Bushnell, in your hands and at your command.

Mike Cecil of CS Tactical related to me that his customers wanted a comparison review between the Bushnell Fusion 1600 ARC and the Swarovski LRF.  I was expecting to hear more excitement for a comparison review between the latter and a Zeiss PRF Rangefinder, but the binoculars did not disappoint.x

Weighing 31 oz., the Bushnell is a more than twice the weight of a Swarovski LRF.  For a mobile shooter, this may be discouraging.  Traveling light is a priority for some.  On the other hand, I’ve found that the Bushnell is capable of ranging targets faster, and further.  Additionally, binoculars for some are more comfortable to look through and natural to use.

bushnell strapbushnell binoculars

With the sportsperson in mind, the Bushnell is reportedly 100% waterproof, capable of ranging deer at 500 yards, trees at 1000 yards and a reported maximum of 1600 yards.  These binoculars are also programmed with Angle Range Compensation for archers and riflepersons that accounts for the terrain angle when calculating distance.

In Bow Mode, the ARC provides horizontal distance from 5 to 99 yards.  Rifle Modes A through J provides bullet drop/holdover data in inches from 100 to 800 yards.  Each letter is assigned to a popular ballistic group i.e., Federal Cartridge  .277 dia. 270 Win, 150 gr. Ballistic Tip at 3060 fps, Federal Cartridge  .308 dia. 30-06 Spring, 180 gr. AccuBond at 2700 FPS, Remington Arms  .308 dia. 30-06 Springfield, 180 gr. BRPT at 2700 FPS, etc.  You may also verify bullet drop for your own cartridge and assign it to a ballistic group should your ammunition not be included on their list.

bushnell binocular eye piecebushnell binocular cover

Other notable features include BullsEye Mode and Brush Mode.  BullsEye Mode “acquires the distances of small targets and game without inadvertently measuring background target distances. When more than one object is acquired, the closer of the two objects is shown on the LCD display.”  For hunters or competitors, the distance of the berm behind the target is not important.  Maintaining the aiming circle on target can be difficult enough, so the BullsEye Mode makes the determination for you without a reread for confirmation.    Brush Mode “ignores the foreground, such as brush, boulders and tree branches, and provides distances on the LCD display to background objects only.”

Picking up the unit for the first time, my initial impressions of the Bushnell Fusion 1600 were that the unit is heavy and the optics has a noticeable blue tint.  The glass, however, was clear.  One look through the binoculars, I was slightly disappointed.  On that note, you’ll have to excuse my snobbery – I primarily look through very clean glass; it’s what I’m used to.  Despite setting the display on it’s highest setting (out of four), I found there were several instances when it was difficult to view – more so than the Swarovski LRF.

Also note that the display is only the right side.  I’m right eyed dominant, so I couldn’t tell anyone if a left eye dominant individual will become frustrated with this configuration.

Note the tint.

Dismiss the blur.

My overall experience with the Bushnell Fusion 1600; however, excused these glaring imperfections.  On a weekend stroll back to Old Sacramento, I found that the unit was capable of reading targets faster, further and required little consideration of the characteristics of the object I was ranging (light/dark, smooth/rough, etc).  Targets I attempted with the Swarovski LRF, but failed, were easily read with the Bushnell Fusion 1600.

Buildings from Macy’s Parking Lot

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All buildings from this parking garage were readable with the Bushnell.  The results were quick!  I found that I did not have to be concerned about the characteristics of the surface I was ranging.  Using the Swarovski LRF on the  US Bank Tower, I was only able to range it using the white surface; attempting to range off the glass yielded no results. The Bushnell was capable of reading all parts of the building.  I found that the same was true with all other buildings noted in the picture.  Note that the Bushnell was capable of reading the two buildings on the far right side, whereas, the Swarovski was not.

From the Old Sacramento Parking Lot

Ranging smaller objects were not a problem either.  Note that I ranged a pole that is likely 12″ in diameter.  I also successfully ranged a sign on the left.  The building far into the horizon?  I didn’t realize how far it was, so perhaps it’s not a surprise it was not capable of reading it.

xgoogle earth map of old sacramentox

The Bushnell was capable of reading the supports off of I-80, whereas, the Swarovski was not.  It won’t work on jet skiers, but will on boats.  I also noted that the tracking feature worked just as well.

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The structure in West Sacramento, CA was read without a glitch.  That’s pretty far!

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With the additional features such as Brush and BullEye mode, you’ll have to be more mindful what you intend to range.  Fiddling with the unit at this garage, I was attempting to range the dome behind the tree.  In BullEye Mode, it will read the tree – even if there’s just ONE leaf in the target circle.  When sound reason and tranquility was achieved, I pressed the mode button on the left side of the binoculars to make the switch.  Easy as pie; you just need to remember what mode you’re in.

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Some Conclusions

At $758.00 with CS Tactical, you’ll be equipped with a fast, durable and reliable rangefinder with an excellent field of view.  Don’t forget the ARC and other useful modes.  However, the blue tinted glass, a dimmer display and more weight may be a deterrent.

For an additional $241.00, you can buy a simple lightweight unit with crystal clear glass and a brighter display, with moderate difficulty ranging smaller, dimmer objects exceeding 100o yards.  No fluff, just the basics refined.

If I needed to range objects further than that, the Bushnell would come in handy; however, I don’t anticipate any need for that.  For the added weight, it wouldn’t be worth it to me.  YMMV.  For the average shooter and if money were a moderate concern, you can’t go wrong with a Bushnell.

Nonetheless, I’m inclined to spend the extra cash for the Swarovski for the brighter display and it’s weight.  End of story.

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  1. Zeiss Victory 8×26 PRF « The Packing Rat - October 14, 2010

    […] long ago when CS Tactical allowed me to check out the Swarovski Optik LRF 8×30 and the Bushnell Fusion 1600 ARC. Both models turned out to be excellent range finding optics. Though I consider the Bushnell Fusion […]

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