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Bushnell Excursion 15-45x60 - Initial impressions

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/13/2009 at 10:25
jonoMT View Drop Down
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I just received this spotter (http://swfa.com/Bushnell-15-45x60-Excursion-FLP-Spotting-Scope-P41844.aspx) from SWFA last night under the Test Drive program. Here are my initial impressions, having taken it out on a bright, clear morning at a temperature of 62F:

The short version: Great glass; good construction, cover and case; okay eye relief; and an adequate tripod.

The long version:

1) First of all, SWFA packaged and shipped this just like any order, sending me confirmation and tracking notifications. Delivery was quite prompt.

2) Inside the box was the semi-soft padded scope case with an included tripod attached to it. My first impression of the case was this is nice step up from the plastic case that came with my cheapo Bushnell refurb. The only quibble I had is that the webbing is really cheap looking. It's probably serviceable, but it still looks cheap. It seems a few extra cents per case would go a long way towards matching the rest of the package.

3) Inside the padded case, the scope is enclosed inside a padded sleeve. The sleeve is designed so that it never needs to be removed. Even the tripod mount has an opening.

4) The tripod is better than what came with my spotter but not as good even as the $40 Dolica that I usually bring to the range. It's wobbly when fully extended and definitely not smooth. For range use, this would not be much of an issue because I usually set up in one spot and once the scope is aimed at the target I don't move it. But if I was using a tripod in the field on high magnification I'd expect to have to shell out some money for something smooth and sturdy.

5) Eye relief is adequate, if not great. I preferred using the eyecup folded down so I wouldn't jostle the scope.

6) The diopter was fairly easy to use to get the mil-dot reticule sharply focused.

7) Yes, this is a mil-dot spotter...and it is FFP. At 15X the reticule is small, but still serviceable, spanning about 1/3 of the FOV. At 45X, it spans most of the FOV and is easy to use. I set up in my alley and had a view of two hikers nearing the summit of a mountain. I estimated their distance at 3600 meters and the actual distance according to Google Earth was ~3400 (nearly two miles away).

8) The glass is very impressive, especially for the price. I could easily see the hikers and felt like at that distance and certainly at lesser distances like a mile I would be able to identify distinguishing features on elk, deer or antelope under similar conditions. (I will also be testing this spotter under early morning light in my next write up). Aside from the eye relief requiring a close-up position to the ocular and care not to bump the scope, there is no fatigue or discernible distortion. The view is clear out to the edges and even when I swung the scope around towards the sun, which was not that high in the sky, I didn't see any glare or color fringing.

9) The form factor of this spotter is dictated by its use of a porro prism. While it is more compact than my current scope, it is less streamlined and perhaps would be harder to get back into a pack. Otherwise, the zoom and focus rings are quite accessible and I really like the padded case.

The middle of next week, I will have the Excursion and El Cheapo set up side by side at the range and will have more to say about using it. It's possible we will also be shooting out to 600 yards so  I can see how it stacks up on the .30 cal bullet hole test at that distance and at 300 yards and also whether it helps in shot correction (granted with two inexperienced users).
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/13/2009 at 14:23
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Thanks for the review.  My buddy is looking for one of these without the mil dot.  Are the optics good enough so this would this serve the purpose for general open country deer hunting?   Thanks.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/13/2009 at 15:46
jonoMT View Drop Down
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I would say yes, but bear in mind that I've only looked through them under broad daylight. I'm going to do some more testing in low light. Generally around here by late October the air is pretty clear and temperatures are low enough not to induce mirage. So I'd consider the optics quite good under sunny skies and those conditions.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/13/2009 at 16:17
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Thanks for the review, it sounds very different from the 20 to 60 that I have. I received mine in a trade deal and I think it was a very early manufacture one, it does not have a reticle but the glass is very clear and eye relief is adequate. A ffp spotting scope with mil-dots does sound useful. I have taken a few pictures through mine and it does the digiscopeing well once the adapter is set up and everything focused. I am loaning mine to a shooting buddy to take to Wyo in a week and he is a lot better photographer than I so I am anxious to see what we get.
Thanks again
Duce   Big Grin
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/17/2009 at 23:12
jonoMT View Drop Down
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Some further notes: I wish I'd known so I could have brought this scope out to my friend's house for a side-by-side comparison, but they have an older Vortex Skyline (one of the Stokes branded) 15-45x60 scopes. It also was mounted on a very sturdy tripod, which helped when viewing. Although I wasn't able to do a side-by-side, I felt like the glass in that older Skyline wasn't as crisp. It was good, but not as nice. However, I really preferred the twist-out eyecup on the Vortex. And I like the focusing knob better than the ring-style on the Bushnell. I'd really like to be able to compare two ED spotters since those are also available from Vortex now. Nonetheless, just having the experience with different optics (I also glassed with their Nikon 10x42 bins) is so valuable. Trying optics out in the field can tell you what will work best for your needs as well as what you are capable of using. For instance, I have no problem holding 10X binos steady. But I have little use in the field for more magnification than that. So a spotter is not something I'll haul around while hunting. I've also learned that no matter how good the glass, high magnification, e.g. 45X, requires solid mounting and really is only something I want for fixed target shooting.

Edited by jonoMT - August/17/2009 at 23:13
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/18/2009 at 23:34
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jonoMT,

Your impressions are similar to many I've spoken to about this scope.  It is such a good deal, I think I might have to send Chris some money.  I'm not quite sure why I need another spotter, but having a back-up for a back-up isn't a bad thing, right?

Just technical note, and I'm no engineer, but I believe these Bushnell FLP scopes (and their Leupold ancestors) are actually "folded" roof prisms, and not porro prisms.  Alas, I could be wrong.

Nice write up, I look forward to hearing about how well the scope picks out some furry critters!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/26/2009 at 12:14
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did they stop selling this scope?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/26/2009 at 22:34
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That seems to be the case. All I see is the version w/out the reticle: http://swfa.com/Bushnell-15-45x60-Excursion-FLP-Spotting-Scope-P11600.aspx
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/24/2010 at 17:52
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Originally posted by Bitterroot Bulls Bitterroot Bulls wrote:

...Just technical note, and I'm no engineer, but I believe these Bushnell FLP scopes (and their Leupold ancestors) are actually "folded" roof prisms, and not porro prisms. 


I know this response is a little late (O.K. a lot late) but, I didn't see this thread until it was linked by another thread just today.

However, to answer your "technical note," you are partially correct.  These scopes are termed "folded light path" scopes.  However, they are neither roof prism nor Porro prism designs.  In fact they don't use prisms of any kind at all. They use mirrors to reflect light rather than prisms which refract it.


Edited by lucznik - March/24/2010 at 17:53
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