Bushnell Yardage Pro 4-12x42mm Laser Riflescope
By the Guns and Shooting Online Staff
Having already reviewed similar laser rangefinding riflescopes from Nikon and Burris, we had a reasonable idea of what to expect from the Bushnell Yardage Pro laser riflescope. The electronics, mounting system, basic operation and overall appearance are the same in all three units and all are 4-12x42mm riflescopes supplied with some sort of "ballistic" reticle. In fact, all are made in the same factory in the Philippines, a country that is fast developing a fine reputation as a center for optics manufacture.
These scopes incorporate very fast laser rangefinders accurate to +/- one yard. The measured distance to the target is displayed by highly visible red LEDs. The laser rangefinder can be activated by pressing a button on the left side of the riflescope or by a supplied remote control unit that can be strapped to the rifle. The riflescope is fully waterproof and fogproof.
The integral laser rangefinder is powered by a battery and if the battery should die or its compartment be flooded by immersion in water, the scope will still operate perfectly as a conventional riflescope. Thus, the presence of the laser rangefinder does not make the scope less reliable than a conventional riflescope. Those who fear the presence of a battery in their scope should rest easy. They will never miss a shot due to battery failure, anymore than battery failure in a separate, hand held rangefinder would cause them to miss a shot.
The Yardage Pro is approximately the same length as a conventional 4-12x riflescope from objective to ocular and about the same outside diameter at the objective end. It is, however, fatter through the middle and at 24 ounces the Yardage Pro is heavier than a conventional riflescope. However, it is lighter than a conventional 4-12x42 scope and a hand held rangefinder, so the hunter's total load is less.
The Yardage Pro scope features an integral mounting rail; clamps that attach the scope to Weaver type bases are included. Scope rings are not used. The integral rail mounting system means that the scope will always be mounted true to the rifle; no more rotating the scope left and right trying to get the crosshairs level. It also gives excellent mounting latitude so that the user can achieve the exact fore and aft position and eye relief desired. This is a good system, far better than most conventional scope mounting systems.
Other nice features include a comfortable rubberized zoom ring that turns smoothly and with enough friction to avoid inadvertent magnification changes and a rubberized European style fast focus eyepiece ring. The supplied lens caps are also neat, capping the ends of the scope securely and being held in the proper location by an internal (rather than external) flange.
The original purchaser of a Bushnell Yardage Pro riflescope is protected by a two year limited warrantee on materials and workmanship. Under the terms of this warrantee the scope must be shipped prepaid to Bushnell for repair or replacement and a check for $10 must be included to cover the cost of return shipping.
Here are some specifications for the Bushnell Yardage Pro laser 4-12x42mm riflescope:
The Yardage Pro is supplied with a mildot reticle that can be used in the conventional manner without replacing the standard elevation turret. After zeroing the rifle/scope you can use the mildots as aiming points at various ranges, but you will have to determine the distance represented by each dot for yourself, based on the trajectory of your cartridge and load.
Alternatively, the Yardage Pro is supplied with two sets of eight interchangeable, target type, bullet drop compensation elevation turrets in addition to a conventional elevation turret. This is its most unique feature compared to the other laser riflescopes. One set of turrets is calibrated in meters, the other in yards. There is even a blank turret (no numbers) that you can fill-in yourself should that be necessary.
Here is how the system works. Mount the Yardage Pro on the selected rifle. Bore sight the scope and then head for a rifle range offering at least 100 yard/meter target stands. (You will later need 200, 300, or longer ranges to check your work.) Remove the caps protecting the windage and elevation adjustment turrets and zero the rifle/scope combination to hit dead on at 100 yards. Then, referring either to the Instruction Manual that came with the scope or the far more extensive ballistic tables provided on the Bushnell web site (go to: www.bushnell.com/ click "Laser Rangefinders," click "Yardage Pro 4-12x42," click "Ballistic Charts") select the elevation turret (marked "A" through "H") that best matches the trajectory of your cartridge and load. For example, for our .223 Rem. test rifle shooting the Remington/UMC factory load using a 45 grain JHP bullet at a MV of 3550 fps the correct elevation turret is "F." Being Americans, we used the "F" turret calibrated in yards rather than the one calibrated in meters. Use a coin or something similar to loosen the chrome-plated screw securing the conventional elevation turret and replace the standard knob with the "F" knob, using the supplied longer coin screw. When installing the "F" knob, set its "100" distance mark at the scope's reference index line, since that is the distance for which you have zeroed the rifle.
Now you've got it made. If you laser a target at 200 yards, turn the elevation turret counter-clockwise to "200" and hold dead on, and so forth. The "F" turret is calibrated in 50 yard increments between 100 and 500 yards with the final number reading "525." Be careful not to turn the dial completely around (in excess of 360 degrees), as there are no stops at either end of the elevation adjustment. After 525, the next number is again 100 and the dial has turned 360 degrees, so the true point of impact is nowhere near where it should be for 100 yards. You must return the turret to the 100 yard setting by turning it clockwise. Some sort of stop should be devised to prevent turning the A through H replacement dials completely around.
Guns and Shooting Online staffers Bob Fleck, Rocky Hays, Gordon Landers and Chuck Hawks participated in the Yardage Pro range tests. We mounted the riflescope on our stainless NEF .223 varmint rifle to experience this system first hand. Following the directions, we carefully zeroed the rifle at 100 yards and then swapped elevation turrets. The first thing that we noticed was that the replacement turrets are target style turrets, too large to allow the threaded dust cap to be replaced, so store the elevation cap somewhere it will not be lost. After zeroing at 100 yards, we moved to the 200 yard target stands and shot some groups, first dialing the scope up to "200." We found that the bullets now hit at point of aim at 200 yards. The system actually works!
We were unable to test at greater distances, since the longest distance available at the Izaak Walton range south of Eugene, Oregon where we do our testing is 200 yards. Next Spring we hope to field test this system on Eastern Oregon sand rats at a variety of distances.
The optics in the Yardage Pro are fully multi-coated and provide sharp, contrasty views of the target at all magnifications. Optical aberrations are well corrected. The integral rangefinder is extremely fast and positive and the LEDs are easy to read in any light. In summation, the view through this riflescope is similar to the view through an Elite 3200 scope and far superior to the view through a hand held Bushnell laser rangefinder. It's a pleasure to use.
We have said it before, but it is worth repeating: we feel that these laser scopes are the future of telescopic sights. They are relatively expensive compared to a plain riflescope, but cost little more than the price of an equivalent riflescope and a separate laser rangefinder and they are far more convenient in the field. Right now 4-12x42mm is the only size available, apparently chosen as a compromise for both varmint and big game hunting. A 4-12x scope is ideal for a moderate varmint rifle in .17 HMR, .222 or .223. However, for a long range varmint rifle in .22-250, .220, or .243 something like a 6-18x scope would be nice and for a big game hunting rifle that will be carried up hill and through dale, a lighter and lower power scope is called for. (Maybe a 2.5-8x36mm?) We look forward to the introduction of new, bigger and smaller laser scopes to meet these needs. Based on the performance of the Laser Pro 4-12x42, we expect Bushnell to be in the forefront of the development of future laser riflescopes.
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