Air Gunner - - Binoculars -

I’m a be­liever that us­ing binoc­u­lars will make you a more suc­cess­ful hunter and I al­ways carry them. do have a pair of fold-up, pocket 8 x 20s, but I al­ways carry my 7 x 40s, for the sim­ple rea­son that that they’re just bet­ter. Full-size bin’s of­fer sta­bil­ity and im­age qual­ity that com­pacts can­not com­pete with. In low light con­di­tions, we want the lenses to gather as much light as pos­si­ble and fun­nel that into our wait­ing pupil that, in the­ory at least, can di­late to 7mm in di­am­e­ter. We can learn the exit pupil (the beam of light ex­it­ing the bin’s) by di­vid­ing the ob­ject lens size in mil­lime­tres by the mag­ni­fi­ca­tion. The de­sign­ers of the Bush­nell Tro­phy Ex­treme I have on test clearly un­der­stand this well. 56/8 = 7. Voila! The per­fect size to fill our eyes.

Clas­sic spec’

The 8 x 56 has been the clas­sic stalker’s binoc­u­lar on the con­ti­nent for decades, famed for hav­ing the ul­ti­mate last-light per­for­mance, ex­actly the time when our quarry tends to be most ac­tive. It’s clear that Bush­nell has built the Tro­phy Ex­treme to take the hard, out­door life, guar­an­tee­ing them to be fully wa­ter­proof, even if im­mersed, and by giv­ing them a tough rub­ber coat­ing to add grip and ab­sorb the knocks. They’ve also moulded the con­tact points to be very er­gonomic, which is im­por­tant in a binoc­u­lar that will be used for ex­tended pe­ri­ods.

To aid this, the large, cen­tral­ly­mounted fo­cus wheel moves freely and is large enough to be used with gloved hands, some­thing that mat­ters dur­ing the colder months. It’s also geared to be quite fast, so you don’t need much move­ment to fo­cus from near to far, help­ing you to search over large ar­eas ef­fi­ciently.

The price you pay for us­ing big lenses is big weight, and at 2.4lbs you soon know you have these around your neck. How­ever, they’re about on par for the course for bin’s in this cat­e­gory.

The most im­por­tant test for me was im­age qual­ity, and with all the ef­fort Bush­nell has put into the lenses and coat­ings I was hop­ing for some­thing spe­cial. Dur­ing day­light the im­age was bright and crisp, even on dull, over­cast days, but to be hon­est, any binoc­u­lar at this price should de­liver that with­out ques­tion. The acid test is in low light con­di­tions. Only the best glass and coat­ings can de­liver those pre­cious ex­tra min­utes as the sun sets, so I de­ter­mined to push these bin’s hard. Search­ing dark­en­ing ar­eas of the shady wood­land floor for squir­rels, I was happy with the per­for­mance and spot­ting wood­ies com­ing in to roost at last light showed just what these big lenses can do. Over­all, they’re a se­ri­ous con­tender for any­body look­ing for some high-qual­ity bin’s in this price range.

In­set: The rub­ber eye cups are ad­justable for those of us who usu­ally wear glasses

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