Bushnell’s New Optics Lines Shine on African Safari


Not only does the Bushnell Forge in Terrain color look amazing atop the PVD-finished Savage High Country rifle, but much more importantly, it performs. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/Guns.com)

Venturing to South Africa on a safari adventure calls for not only the best in firearms but in optics and gear as well. There has long been a misconception that the Bushnell brand is lower dollar and subsequently sub-par in quality. What better way to test out the brands durability and performance than a hunt on the African Plains? With the company’s revamped 2019 line of optics by my side, I put Bushnell’s binoculars, rangefinders and riflescopes to the test on the Dark Continent.

Bushnell Forge and Nitro Riflescope


The Bushnell Nitro atop the Savage High Country rifle. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/Guns.com)

The Bushnell Forge Riflescope has put in time at both the range and out on safari serving up performance under both conditions. I mounted the 3-18×50 on the Savage High Country rifle in 6.5 Creedmoor. The power ring throw lever is a nice addition for quick adjustments in the field while the Deploy MOA reticle makes it simple to use hold-overs or hold-offs. The taller zero-return turrets make dialing windage and elevation a breeze as well. This scope let me touch out over hundreds of yards on African Plains game animal.

With features and build of optics twice its price, the Forge may not be budget-friendly for some hunters and shooters, but it is a lifetime-warrantied serious optic. MSRP on the Forge riflescopes in either FFP or SFP and standard black or Terrain color ranges from $799 to $899.


The combination of a Bushnell Nitro riflescope on the Savage High Country rifle in .300 Win Mag accounted for this Gemsbok, taken by your author whilst on Safari in South Africa. (Photo: Stan Pate/Guns.com)

While the Forge is a higher-dollar model, the Nitro comes in slightly less than its sibling. With the 4-16×44 Nitro mounted on the Savage High Country rifle in .300 Win Mag, it was African game ready. Like the Forge, the Deploy MOA reticle in our Nitro scope also made it simple to use hold-overs, though zero-return turrets allow shooters to dial as well. Though the test optic I used was FFP, there are multiple variants from 2.5-10×44 to 6-24×50 to suit your needs.

MSRP on the Nitro comes in at $539, though the same scope using SFP technology is only $389 in either black or gun-metal gray.

Bushnell Engage DX Binoculars


Bushnell’s new Engage DX binos saw hard use in Africa. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/Guns.com)

Bushnell’s new Engage DX roof-prism binoculars are truly a case of getting more bang for your buck. The Engage DX 10x42mm featured fully coated optics in addition to offering a waterproof and fogproof design. The glass is fantastic, evidenced by the superior quality and light transmission, and we were able to quickly identify animals in the field, on the move, and in all sorts of light conditions.

Weighing 25-ounces, these binos are light enough to carry all day – as I did with Bushnell harnesses. With an MSRP of just $199, the Bushnell Engage DX Binoculars exceeded expectations.

Bushnell Prime Rangefinder


The new Prime 1300 rangefinder locked onto Plains game targets quickly in Africa, even at distances of 500 yards. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/Guns.com)

The Prime 1300 Rangefinder earned its keep while on safari. Not only did it acquire targets quicker than other laser rangefinders on the market, but it did so accurately with excellent light transmission. Advertised capabilities are 1,300-yards reflective, 800-yards to tree and 600-yards to deer. ARC technology automatically accounts for terrain angle, while a selectable reticle allows customization. Scan, brush, and bullseye modes all help in various situations and terrains, and best of all, the LRF is easy to use.

When a hunt is on the line, especially the hunt of a lifetime, knowing the range quickly and accurately makes all the difference on a trophy harvest or tag soup. MSRP on the Prime LRF is $169.99.



The combination of a Bushnell Forge riflescope on the Savage High Country rifle in 6.5 Creedmoor accounted for this Zebra on Safari in South Africa. (Photo: Boutie Cooper/Waterval Safaris)

The next time you’re shopping for some hunting glass, be sure to take a look through some of Bushnell’s latest products. I trusted my bucket-list Safari hunt to Bushnell quality and was definitely not disappointed. Plus side, if anything ever goes wrong, the new Bushnell lifetime Ironclad Warranty has things covered. The only thing for the hunter to focus on is enjoying the adventure.

Check out Guns.com’s lineup of OPTICS.


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