Bushnell Prime 1800 Laser Rangefinder

By Randy Wakeman

At a time when more dollars gets you less value, laser rangefinders run in stark contrast to this unsavory trend. Going back to a “Rangefinder Roundup” in 2003, https://chuckhawks.com/rangefinder_roundup.htm you can see that a typical rangefinder in those days ran about $300, with the Leica LRF1200 at $470. Back then, I felt 300 bucks was a nice chunk of change, but that is worth $500 in 2023 dollars. Rangefinders are one area where today you can spend half the money, yet get twice the capability. The Bushnell is a very good example of this.

Dim optics have always been an issue with middle-of-the-road rangefinders. Bushnell has addressed this with the 24mm objective, netting you a 4mm exit pupil from this 6x rangefinder that alone makes the image appear brighter than any rangefinder with a smaller exit pupil. It is clearly brighter than the Leica, Vortex, Leupold, and Nikon units that I have on hand. It is clearly brighter than a $479 Leupold RX-1600I unit, merely by virtue of the Bushnell 24mm objective vs. the 22mm objective of the Leupold. It is noticeably brighter than the Vortex Ranger 1500: https://chuckhawks.com/vortex_ranger_1500.html .

Above, the Bushnell Lifetime Ironclad Warranty for their electronic rangefinders is actually only five years, and does not cover the electronics.

Before I continue showering the Bushnell Prime 1800 with praise, I need to mention the bewildering “Lifetime Ironclad Warranty, fully transferable with no receipt required.” It is a peculiar one, for it has nothing to do with human lives or even dog lives, but is a random lifetime created by Bushnell. As it turns out, the “Lifetime” has a defined lifetime; lifetimes can range from 1 to 30 years contingent on the product. In the case of this unit, the “Lifetime” is 5 years. A well cared for goldfish trounces this by ten years.

It gets worse, for the first line of the warranty states, “This warranty does not cover the following: electronic components--” What good is a rangefinder warranty that doesn't cover electronics? What makes a rangefinder a rangefinder in the first place as opposed to a monocular is the electronics. This is irritating nonsense. Please don't brag about a so-called Lifetime Warranty that is just five years, and don't call a warranty on electronics that does not actually cover electronics a warranty at all, much less an “Ironclad” one. Suffice it to say that as written, there is no meaningful warranty on the Prime 1800 rangefinder, but at least you can transfer it. Good grief.

The Prime 1800 rangefinder is excellent, with a very bright image. The “ActivSync” display that changes from a black LCD to illuminated red is no gimmick, working automatically with no user input. The Prime 1800 is not just an excellent optic, it is silent, easy to grip, very light, and very quick to range. The Prime 1800 also has a built-in tripod adapter. Angle compensation is built in, so you can have the “shoot to” distance as well as actual distance. Part of the factory specs follow.



Battery Type



1800 yds

Tree Range

1000 yds

Deer Range

900 yds (manual states 700 yards)


+/- 1 yd


4.23 in


1.58 in


6 oz

ARC Modes


Batteries Included


EXO Barrier




Target Mode

Scan, Bow, Bullseye/Brush, Rifle A-J

The Prime 1800 is expertly designed and well-packaged. Available most everywhere for a very attractive $199, I find the Bushnell Prime 1800 to be the best general hunting rangefinder value on the market today.

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Copyright 2023 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.