The Bushnell Sport 850 is an affordable, accurate line-of-sight rangefinder without any fuss or weight – it’s light, incredibly easy to use, and it does what you need it to do quickly, reliably, and without you having to invest an arm and a leg. Perfect for tournament usage, or just general golf play, it’s a rugged rangefinder with a great grip and nearly 900 yard range.
It’s not my favorite rangefinder, but it’s definitely a recommended piece for anyone just starting out, especially if they’re unsure what to go with.
The Bushnell Sport 850 has got everything you want – it’s small, easily gripped, operates on a single button that gives you accurate line-of-sight readings of up to 850 yards (as you might have guessed from the name of the model) and it uses an eye-safe laser for its readings.
Some people might say it’s lacking in magnification with only 4 times magnification – but I find that that’s more than enough. Any more than that and the image would get too shaky, especially since this model doesn’t have image stabilization. Just like most high-quality Bushnell products, and rangefinders in general, it’s rainproof.
It’s got a vertical design, instead of a horizontal one, making it even easier to grip in a single hand. I’ve heard people complain about its holster being too flimsy, but since I usually just keep my rangefinder in my back pocket, it’s never bothered me.
The Bushnell Sport 850 is perfect for beginners – anyone who hasn’t ever owned a rangefinder before and is looking into getting one should check out the 850 first. That’s what it was designed for – being an affordable, yet reliable option that does what a good rangefinder is supposed to do, without extras or surprises.
Basic range distance, basic magnification, good grip, compact size and design, and just a single button to interface with, making it an incredibly easy tool to work with. Although designed more for golfing, it can be a hunter or archer’s companion as well. That versatility, combines with its price, means Bushnell succeeded in making an entry-level affordable rangefinder that isn’t absolutely worthless.
- It’s affordable, yet high-quality. A rare example in the world of rangefinders.
- Durable and compact, easy to grip and even easier to use – perfect for first-time owners of a rangefinder.
- Although some might say that its low magnification and range is a con, for its price it’s quite the pro.
- The add-ons the rangefinder comes with – neck strap, holster and carrying case – are quite low quality.
- It’s tough to work with at long distances due to the lack of any image stabilization, and unlike more expensive rangefinders, it isn’t designed explicably to hit golfing pins. Still, with some practice it isn’t too tough to use.
- Battery life isn’t exactly substantial.
- Being a laser rangefinder, it’s hard to get the range of a dark object because it doesn’t reflect the rangefinder’s laser very well. This makes the rangefinder less than ideal for hunting darker prey, especially in heavy foliage.
The Bushnell Sport 850 is an entry-level rangefinder – but it isn’t something I’d recommend if you’re looking to seriously invest in your hobby. The cons don’t seem too major, but over time these minor nuisances become more and more of a hindrance. Still, if you’re only in need of a rangefinder occasionally, then it’ll be better to grab this model and save a lot of money, instead of getting a more expensive model.
For golfing, the main gripe users will discover is that it can be really tough to hit the posts and pins past a certain yardage, even with magnification, simply because of the lack of image stabilization. It’s also hard to get a stable range reading when you can’t consistently hit your target, made worse by the fact that this rangefinder doesn’t have continuous reading capabilities.
To hunters, the main gripe would probably be the fact that the rangefinder doesn’t pick up on darker objects quite as much, making it tough to get an accurate reading on a mark with brown, black or otherwise dark fur. But, for its price, it’s still probably the best line-of-sight laser rangefinder you can get nowadays.
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