Bushnell G-Force 1300 ARC Laser Rangefinder

By Randy Wakeman

Bushnell G-Force 1300 ARC Laser Rangefinder
Bushnell 1300 ARC and Leupold RX-1000 rangefinders. Photo by Randy Wakeman.

The Bushnell G-Force 1300 is a well-specified rangefinder, with good build quality of the rubber-armored metal housing. It is also waterproof with a built in tripod mount. With a 2013 MSRP of $399.99, its discount retail price is often $340 or so. Originally, my hope was to do a small “rangefinder roundup” comparison, similar to an article I wrote several years ago. The form factor of this Bushnell is similar to my Leupold RX-1000i, with a similar retail price. The published specifications are as follows.

Bushnell G-Force 1300 ARC Specifications and Features

·        Magnification X Obj Lens: 6 x 21

·        Focus System: Center

·        Prism System: Roof

·        Prism Glass: BaK-4

·        Lens Coating: Fully Multi-Coated

·        Rain-Guard HD: Yes

·        Field of View ft@1000yds / m@1000m: 393 / 120

·        Exit Pupil (mm): 3.5

·        Eye Relief (mm): 16

·        Eyecups: Twist-Up

·        Water/Fog Proof: Yes

·        Adapt to Tripod: Yes

·        Rangefinder Range: 5-1300

·        Magnification: 6x

·        Weight (oz/g): 8 / 227

·        BatteryType: 3-volt CR2 (incl.)

·        Rangefinder Targeting Modes: Scan, Bullseye, Brush

·        Rangefinder ARC Modes: Bow, Rifle

·        Tree Ranging Performance (yds.): 900 yds.

·        Deer Ranging Performance (yds.): 600 yds.

·        Rangefinder Accuracy: Up to ½ yard accuracy from 5-125 Yards; +/- 1 yards accuracy from 125-1300 yards

·        2013 MSRP: $399.99

Both this Bushnell unit and the Leupold have similar specs and are 6x units, the Leupold having a slightly larger (22mm) objective. The Leupold is claimed to be more accurate, at 1/10th of a yard, but as a practical matter both have more accuracy than needed.

A head to head comparison isn't needed here, though, as the tested Bushnell unit has a huge problem: the display. The red “Vivid Display Technology” is quite poor, offering a very weak, ghosty overlay image of the reticle and read-out even on a cloudy, overcast day. The Leupold has a far brighter, crisper, easier to see display and is an immensely more useful tool as a result.

To be specific, the Bushnell has four brightness settings: brt1, brt2, brt3 and brt4. The Leupold has three. Even on the low setting, the Leupold has a far crisper, more usable display than the Bushnell at its high setting. In low light the situation gets no better, for the display of the Bushnell also tends to show all the potential display circuitry, resulting in a maze of an undesirable "washout" LED fireworks show. The Leupold, however, has no such problems and has a dramatically superior and less distracting display, regardless of setting, regardless of bright daylight or after sunset conditions. Although selling at a higher price point, the Leica Rangemaster CRF 1000-R also has a markedly better display, one that is self-adjusting.

There is little point in attempting further comparison, so I won't. The Bushnell G-Force 1300 ARC certainly has the potential to be a fine unit, but its tragic display is a fatal flaw.

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Copyright 2013 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.