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Chris Parkin tests out the Bushnell Fusion X 10x42 Rangefinding Binoculars, retailing at just £838.
credit: Chris Parkin
Bushnell’s latest binoculars arrived for my use just as the days were drawing to their shortest, giving me the opportunity to assess their capabilities in perhaps the most challenging conditions. Let’s not forget that these are rangefinders too, and feature innovative tech to tackle a problem many of us will be familiar with – the contrast between reticle and background image when challenged by varying light conditions. It’s all too easy to go for a heavy reticle that you assume will always remain bold. But Bushnell have chosen to go a step further with ActivSync, which smoothly blends from black to red illumination of the reticle – the former against bright backgrounds and the latter against dark, with infinitely variable tones in between. It’s a really neat feature.
Otherwise, HDOS (High-Definition Optical System) is Bushnell’s tagline for their optical system and internal lens coatings, which aim to provide a crisp image accessible and precise enough to accurately range steel or game with laser return capability, depending on ambient light and surface reflectivity, at distances up to a mile (1,760yd).
The binoculars are supplied with a light neoprene-type travel case, which has minimal bulk and a padded neck strap. The black outer casing is rubber armoured with a slightly soft-touch texture, with 8mm overhang beyond the objective lenses offering a high degree of physical protection. This model is a twin-bridge design, with the rearmost featuring the mode button on the left side of the thicker bridge. The laser firing button is on the right, with focal control just ahead in the centre, spanning the gap to the front bridge. This offers decent grip levels and smooth transit through almost 1.5 complete rotations, to offer precise focal control from approximately 4m to infinity with no backlash and intermediate depth of field enabling you to pick out quarry deep in cover.
Durability is backed up by Bushnell’s lifetime warranty, and the IPX7 waterproof rating means the unit can tolerate submergence to 1m for 30 minutes without compromising the integrity of the glass or the electronics. Bushnell’s proprietary EXO Barrier coating technology repels moisture and other particulate or oily debris from the exterior surfaces, allowing maximum interference-free light to enter the internal fully multicoated lenses and BK7 roof prisms.
I found all in combination gave a well-balanced colour structure and definition. Chromatic aberration was almost entirely unnoticeable, even with incredibly low sun angles over the horizon offering challenging conditions, and there was a linear fade corresponding to external light with no particular steps.
The laser was accurate with a well-aligned reticle aimpoint offering reliable readings on reflective surfaces, ideal for hunting requirements with a one-yard accuracy rating that seemed to correlate without any worries.
These are a well-priced, functional, mid-range unit providing all required settings and controls. They may not offer the ultimate in low-light or rangefinding performance, but are realistic in terms of what many shooters need and can afford. Everything is powered by a CR2 battery and the buttons are small yet defined and tactile in operation, in either single ping or scan mode. Both tubes offer dioptre adjustment to balance image and reticle. The eyecups only offer all the way down or up, with only mild friction adjustment between to set your preferred eye relief.
Tech specsProduct Name: Fusion X 10x42 Rangefinding BinocularsMagnification: x Objective Lens 10x42mmReticle: Activsync DisplayLength (in./mm): 7 in. / 177mmWeight (oz./g): 35 oz / 992 gExit Pupil (mm): 4mm / 0.157inEye Relief (in.): 16.0mm / 0.630inField of View (ft. @ 1,000 Yds.): 305Gas Purged: Yes, NitrogenBattery Included: YesBattery Type: CR2 RRP: £838
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