A new trend in rangefinder technology is to include a ballistic calculator while ranging on an angle. For 2008, Bushnell has updated two of its rangefinders with an inclinometer, the Scout 1000 and the Elite 1500. Bushnell is calling its new technology Angle Range Compensation or ARC for short. For this article we decided to test the Scout 1000 with ARC technology.
Bushnell Scout 1000 with ARC.
Mode button is on the side of the device.
The Scout 1000 with ARC is a handheld unit that retails at roughly $300, camo models are available at an additional cost. Like the Scout without ARC, the rangefinder is capable of ranging deer sized targets at up to 325 yards, trees up to 650 yards, and buildings up to 1000 yards. The Scout has a five power magnification ocular which allows it to double as a modest monocular with an adjustable diopter. The unit works off a single 3volt CR2 battery, which is common for most rangefinders of the Scout's size. Bushnell offers a two-year limited warranty on the Scout.
Front view of the Scout. Power button is on the top.
The Scout has several advanced modes that help the user. Bushnell has created two modes called "Bullseye" and "Brush" which help the user to assign target priority. After using rangefinders for awhile, a hunter will notice that sometimes the rangefinder picks up objects behind or in front of the target object. More advanced rangefinders use targeting modes to decide whether to display the first or last object ranged. Bullseye mode means that the rangefinder is going to display the distance to the first object it obtained a reading from, conversely "Brush" mode returns the distance to the last object it obtained a reading from. The Scout can also scan objects by holding down the power button and moving slowly from one object to the next. Scanning is a common feature in most rangefinders being manufactured today.
View through the Scout. Bullseye mode is turned on (left)
and the rifle mode is set to the "H" ballistic group.
View through the Scout in Brush mode.
Bushnell's new ARC technology allows the Scout to measure shooting angles of up to +/- 60 degrees. The Scout then takes this angle information a step further and uses it to calculate the ballistic distance to the target. Measuring ballistic distance is defined into two modes: Bow or Rifle. In bow mode the Scout will calculate the shooting angle, then tell you the line of sight distance, then the horizontal distance to target. When shooting on an angle the horizontal distance defines which sight pin to use when targeting. The Scout does not use bow ballistic groups like the Leupold RX-II or similar. The Bushnell literature included with the Scout states "Bushnell determined through extensive testing and interviews with high-profile bow hunting experts that multiple bow ballistic groups were not necessary." In bow mode the rangefinder will measure distances on an angle from 5 to 99 yards.
Setting the ARC system to rifle mode requires a bit more homework. Rifle are broken into ten ballistic groups, lettered A through J. Ballistic groups A through H are intended for higher velocity, centerfire cartridges, while ballistic groups I and J can be used for muzzleloader velocities. In order to figure out which ballistic group you should use, Bushnell provides a small chart in the paper manual. However a much more extensive library of factory loads can be found online at:
Rear view of the Scout. Ocular has 2 diopters of adjustment.
When shooting reloads, the Scout can still help out, however a shooter needs to know which ballistic group their load falls within. By first zeroing at one hundred yards then shooting a 300 yard target without changing zero, the shooter will be able to use Bushnell's provided ballistic chart to match their reloaded cartridge's bullet drop. Bushnell also recommends that a 500 yard bullet drop measurement also be taken in order to assure that the correct ballistic group has been chosen. With ballistic group in hand, the Scout can then be set to the correct ballistic group in rifle mode.
When taking a rifle mode distance measurement on an angle, the Scout will display the ballistic distance to target (the horizontal distance), the angle, and the bullet drop in inches or centimeters. The device can display up to 199" inches of bullet drop. A hunter can then use this bullet drop information to adjust their scope accordingly to take the correct shot. The bullet drop display only has two digits, therefore if the bullet drop is greater than 99" the bullet drop display will blink, indicating that you need to add 100 to the displayed number in order to obtain the correct bullet drop.
Testing the unit on known ranges revealed that its +/- 1 yard accuracy is correct. However when ranging past 650 yards it seemed more difficult to get the Scout to consistently obtain a range, even on building sized, perpendicular, lighter colored targets. The Scout would eventually obtain a distance, which was correct, but several measurings might be necessary in order to get a read out.
The inclinometer worked well in both bow and rifle mode, correctly displaying angle and ballistic information (distance or drop depending on mode). The brush and bullseye mode also work well. In bullseye mode a crosshair will appear over the LED bullseye in the display signifying that the first target was obtained and used. In brush mode the device would show a circle around a bush signifying the second target was obtained and ranged. For most big game hunters, the brush mode will probably be more useful since the bullseye mode is mostly intended for ranging small targets. Switching between brush, bullseye, and standard is trivial, since it just takes a click of the mode button to switch between the three modes.
Setup is slightly more complicated, requiring that you hold down on the mode button for 5 seconds then step through the various settings (bow, rifle, and ballistic group) by clicking the power button. All things considered, the Scout is simpler to use than the Leupold RX-II we tested a few months ago. However in order to consistently use the inclinometer, you still need to do your research and then test out your ballistic group selection at a range with known distance. It may require stepping up or down one ballistic group to perfectly match your rifle and cartridge due to variations in air temperature, altitude, and rifle barrel length.
Our test unit had very fine, very small black spots throughout the LED display. The Bushnell manual notes that these are normal and a part of the LED display manufacturing processing. This is true; however the Scout unit we tested seems to have more of the tiny black spots than comparable units we have tested from Nikon or Leupold. These spots are really only visible while looking at a light colored surface and are not noticeable when using the device afield. Also the black on clear LED display, like other rangefinders that use black LED displays, is harder to see at dusk and dawn. One final point on the Scout, is that it seems to be slower to range distances than other rangefinders. The difference may only be a second or two, but the time required to range seems to increase with distance.
In conclusion the Bushnell Scout with ARC is a worthwhile rangefinder. Keep in mind that the inclinometer adds complexity in order to use it correctly; however Bushnell has done a good job of picking a simpler to use subset of functions than the Leupold RX line. A technically challenged person will probably find the Scout easier to setup than the Leupold RX-II , but you give up some of the features of the Leupold and both are harder to setup than a simple point and click unit (like the Nikon 440  or 550  or Brunton Laser Echo ). If you find the inclinometer too difficult on the Scout, it can be set to standard mode and be used as a basic rangefinder.
For more information about Bushnell Rangefinders visit the Bushnell  web site.