ABOVE : Original Bushnell Spacemaster 20-60x60 Spotting Scope (superseded - see new model below)
From the outset, there was something very different about the Bushnell Spacemaster Spotting Scope. The simple act of taking it out of the box compels you to tinker with it and try out the many adjustments - as well as look through it. It comes in a hard, impact-resistant plastic case and with protective lens caps, which, together, offer great protection for the trip to the range. Once there, it can be attached to any standard camera tripod mount or custom stand, but that's where it gets interesting.
The viewing angle can be adjusted to just about any position to suit your desired viewing, as both the eyepiece and main body are adjustable. First, the eyepiece section can be tipped up to more than 90 degrees and then the locknut on the tripod mount allows you to adjust to other than a vertical plane. Once the desired angle is set, you are free to explore the other exceptional features. The front section of the scope has a sliding/retractable sunshade and the eyepiece has a retractable eyecup, which can be collapsed for those who wear glasses. The eyepiece section also serves as the adjustment for a mild 20-power magnification through to 60-power, which is simply achieved by turning the eyepiece as you might with a variable scope. Focus is achieved by rotating the focus ring that is situated just in front of the scope mount.
ABOVE : Updated Bushnell SpaceMaster 15-45x 60mm Zoom Kit Spotting Scope available at discounted price below...
So how is it to use? Well, for adjustability and packaging, it was easy to see that the Bushnell easily made the grade. But for range or other uses, I not only asked a couple of other experienced field rifle and 3- positional shooters for their opinions, I put it through its paces at the various distances with a test that we do when checking out riflescopes. The test involves looking at a page from a newspaper pinned up at varying distances with varying magnifications. By doing this you get more variety and can really see the clarity, or otherwise, of what you are looking through.
On the day we were confined to testing, a bad heat shimmer was present and with the scope up on 60 power we experienced distortion. On a lower setting of 40 power it became more manageable. Not many scopes work well through heat haze on high magnification and in comparison to the other range scopes that we had available, the Bushnell Spacemaster performed pretty well.
The group of field and 3-positional shooters that examined the scope all commented on the wide range of adjustments that would be suited for range use. At a recommended retail of $599, it's not something that everyone can afford but for those who can, all agreed it would be a fairly good investment.
After shooting a few rounds, Owen J Ismail, four-time national field rifle and 3-positional champion, said, "The Spacemaster has a wide range of adjustment and appears to be a nice scope for positional shooting." Luis Henriques, a national competitor, WA state team member and noted AAA grade shooter, found the scope to be "very, very clear" and commented favourably on the collapsible eyecup and the ease in which the scope could be used.
All the features and adjustments on the Spacemaster also found favour with Tom Schrewsbury and Frank Bailey, both avid A grade competitors. The Bushnell Spacemaster Spotting Scope has now been superseded wth the Bushnell SpaceMaster 15-45x 60mm Zoom Kit Spotting Scope: check discount prices below.
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