We love optics here at Backwoods Pursuit, so getting to do this Bushnell Forge Spotting Scope review was as absolute privilege. When you are trying to decide what the best spotting scope is for your needs, there’s simply nothing better than getting to put it to the test in the field side by side with a number of other spotting scopes. When right next to each other, you can really start to see the differences. But when does anyone have tons of different spotting scopes at once to literally compare them all to each other?
Amazingly, that’s exactly what we got the chance to do for this series of spotting scope reviews. Our goal for this project was to find the best compact spotting scope, 65 mm class spotting scope, 85 mm class spotting scope, as well as the best values in each of the categories. Make sure you check out all of the other spotting scope reviews here on our website as well as over on the Backwoods Pursuit YouTube Channel!
Want to see how the Bushnell Forge Spotting Scope performed next to 18 of the best spotting scopes on the market? Check out our MASSIVE SPOTTING SCOPE REVIEW where we lined up 19 of the best spotting scopes we could find and put them to the test. Side by side with volunteer testers, no brand loyalties (at least as much as humanly possible), many lighting conditions, and 14 guys ranking these things. What an awesome project to put together! This is a product of over 2 years of work, research, and testing to get this review done for you. You don’t want to miss this!
Dive into the details on every one of the spotting scopes in the review above by becoming a Backwoods Pursuit Member (TOTALLY FREE) and you can download the data we used to put this review together.
Bushnell is a brand you are probably familiar with, or have at least heard of, so we wanted to put together this Bushnell Forge Spotting Scope review to see how this Bushnell Spotting scope stood up to the competition. For this review, we tested the Bushnell Forge 20-60×80 mm spotting scope.
Bushnell Forge Spotting Scope Review: The Testing
As mentioned above, the Bushnell Forge Spotting Scope was a part of that huge review, but we also wanted to go into more detail on the Bushnell Forge 20-60×80 mm Spotting Scope than we could provide in that article. We were able to field test the Bushnell Forge Spotting Scope, as well as include it in our group testing to get the opinions of 14 avid hunters.
Looking for a binoculars? Check out our MASSIVE 26 BINOCULAR REVIEW where we put 26 of the best binoculars side by side!
Bushnell Forge Spotting Scope Review: The Specs
The Bushnell Forge Spotting Scope features an 80 mm objective lens, a nice sun shade, dual focus system, and a smooth eye cup and zoom mechanism. Make sure to see how the Bushnell Forge 20-60×80 spotting scope stacked up against the competition in our “Best Spotting Scope For Hunting” review!
Here are some of the Bushnell Forge Spotting Scope Specs:
- 20-60×80 mm
- Dual focus system
- Weight: 61.4 oz
- Length: 17 in
- 5 position twist up eye cups
- Bushnell ED Prime glass
- Rubber armor
- Attached objective and eyepiece caps
- Sun shade
- Price: $1,099
Bushnell Forge Spotting Scope Review: ED Prime Glass
Bushnell has really stepped up their game of late, bringing their ED Prime glass to a number of their optics. The Bushell ED Prime glass is their top of the line offering and is featured in their Forge line of binoculars, Elite Tactical rifle scopes and others. While the Bushnell ED Prime Glass is very good, particularly at its respective price point of $1,099, it doesn’t keep up with the alpha glass as you’d expect.
With that being said, for its price point, the Bushnell Forge Spotting Scope equipped with the ED Prime Glass gets the job done and done well. You will notice that it doesn’t quite have that pop that others do in this price category, but those ones cost hundreds more. The old adage of “spend as much as you can afford on glass” comes into affect as you go up in price point, however, this spotting scope does give you a good clear image.
Being the least expensive of the 85 mm class spotting scopes we tested in our huge spotting scope review, it performed according to its price point. The Exo Barrier Bushnell puts on it does a good job of keeping your lens protected in the elements.
Bushnell Forge Spotting Scope Review: The Eyepiece
I was really impressed with the quality of the eyepiece while doing this Bushnell Forge Spotting Scope review. To my surprise, the Bushnell Forge eyepiece is FAR better than the Vortex Razor HD spotting scope eyepieces that we tested. The Forge Spotting Scope is nice and crisp with very minimal play and has the right amount of resistance. Eyepieces are always a problem area for optics, but I was extremely pleased with the build on the Bushnell Forge Spotting Scope.
I did notice that centering the image was a bit tougher with the Bushnell Forge Spotting Scope than others as you have to make sure your eye is lined up just right to get the full image. Eye relief was satisfactory, and the eye cup was very comfortable.
Bushnell Forge Spotting Scope Review: Dual Focus System
The Bushnell Forge Spotting Scope was one of the few we tested that featured a dual focus system. Among our test group, the dual focus setup was preferred hands down over a barrel focus system. We all found that the barrel focus made it more difficult to fine focus at higher magnification, whereas the dual focus made that fine focus process much easier.
Our test group, myself included, did notice that the fine focus on the Bushnell Forge Spotting Scope was too fine. We found that it took too many revolutions and turning the fine focus wheel didn’t do enough, causing you to keep turning it and turning it to bring your image into focus. It’s a setup where you really SHOULD use the course focus first, then move to the fine focus to really dial it in, but most folks get impatient and just use the fine focus part of the setup, causing too many revolutions to bring the image into full focus.
Bushnell Forge Spotting Scope Review: Weight/Body Construction
The Bushnell Forge Spotting scope comes with a nice rubber armor that is not only very functional, but looks really nice as well. An extendable sun shade gives you protection from glare, and the collar allows you to rotate the spotting scope for more comfortable viewing if you are using the angled version. During use I did notice that the location of that collar was further back on the body and made the Forge Spotting Scope more front-end heavy. This seems to require that you tighten down your tripod head a bit more to keep it in place.
The weight of the Bushnell Forge Spotting scope is actually very good vs its competition! Coming in at just 61.4 ounces, it is easily the lightest of the entire 85 mm class by at least 4 ounces (other than the Kowa TSN 773, which is 2.4 oz lighter, but has a smaller 77 mm objective lens).
Bushnell Forge Spotting Scope Review: Rotation Collar
Another thing our team noticed doing this Bushnell Forge Spotting Scope review was that we would have liked to see a more defined “click” in the rotation collar. If you need to rotate the angled model for downhill viewing, the click is a bit faint when bringing it back to center. It’s a small thing, but could be improved.
Bushnell Forge Spotting Scope Review: Clarity/Low Light Performance
The Bushnell Forge Spotting Scope performed admirably in the clarity and low light areas relative to its price point. It tied the much more expensive Sig Oscar 8 for 2nd in the edge-to-edge clarity, focus wheel functionality, and low light clarity categories. Well done, Bushnell, for competing with more expensive spotting scopes!
Where the Bushnell Forge seemed to struggle a bit was the overall image clarity vs the more expensive Sig Oscar 8 and Athlon Cronus in its respective price category. It fared well on lower magnification, but as you can see in the picture below, at 60x it loses some clarity and the color contrast isn’t quite as good as the more expensive options as well. Again, not surprising as you’ll be spending another $400 for either of those spotting scopes, so the Bushnell Forge held its own given that it was the lease expensive in its category.
Bushnell Forge Spotting Scope Review: Edge-to-Edge Clarity
The Bushnell Forge Spotting Scope offers a nice clear image in the middle 50% of the field of view, but does have noticeable loss of clarity as you move to the outer edges. Edge-to-edge clarity is a difficult thing for spotting scopes to accomplish, thus the reason you spend a pretty penny to get a spotting scope with perfect edge-to-edge clarity. With that being said, the image you get in the middle 50% of the Forge is nice and clean and more than gets the job done.
Bushnell Forge Spotting Scope Review: Chromatic Aberration
As you’d expect, while we were doing this Bushnell Forge Spotting Scope review, we did notice that it suffered from some chromatic aberration. It’s not an exorbitant amount by any stretch, but is noticeable is some lights more than others. If you are someone who is looking to see if a critter is a bull or buck, or if that bush, tree, or stump a mile away might be an animal, the Bushnell Forge will more than get the job done. If you are someone looking to count points and score a ram, bull, or buck from well over a mile away, you might need to pony up more cash for an alpha spotter.
Bushnell Forge Spotting Scope Review: Field of View
The Bushnell Forge Spotting Scope offers a somewhat narrow field of view, modestly performing in its respective price bracket. Testing for this Bushnell Forge Spotting Scope review, we noticed that the field of view seemed more narrow and more like you were looking through a tunnel than others we tested. But again, you would have to bring more cash to the table to get the larger field of view the others offer. Is the extra field of view the others give you worth the extra coin? That’s entirely up to you.
Bushnell Forge Spotting Scope Review: What We Liked
At the end of this Bushnell Forge Spotting Scope review, our team was pleased with the value you get with the Bushnell Forge Spotting Scope. Certainly not the best out there, but it has a lot of great features:
- Nice rubber armor
- Dual focus system
- Nice crisp eye cups
- Smooth zoom mechanism
Bushnell Forge Spotting Scope Review: What We Didn’t Like
- Narrow field of view (tunnel feel)
- Fine focus too fine
- Edge-to-edge clarity
- Chromatic aberration
Bushnell Iron Clad Warranty
Bushnell recently started offering their “Bushnell Iron Clad Warranty” on many of their products. I have absolutely zero experience using this Iron Clad Warranty, but I suppose that’s a good thing. The best warranty is one you don’t have to use. If I do have any experiences with it, I’ll certainly update this review, but so far so good.
How The Bushnell Forge Spotting Spotting Scope Ranked
Relative to Its Price Category
Low Light Performance
Edge to Edge Clarity
Bushnell Forge Spotting Scope Review: Conclusion
At the end of the day, budget drives a large part of what kind of optics you can purchase. If you find yourself needing to stay in the $1,000 range for an 80 mm class spotting scope, give the Bushnell Forge Spotting Scope a look. I’m not going to sugar coat it for you, the Forge certainly isn’t the best spotting scope you can buy, but it’s a very nice option that’ll dramatically increase your chances of spotting whatever animal you are chasing.