2018 Updated by Eric - As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through & make a purchase. Please read my disclosure for more info.
There is a lot to be said about simple technology. Something that is no more than what it needs to be to do the task at hand with no fluff or filler to drain your pockets. The Bushnell Bone Collector is just such a piece of technology. Just because it’s simple doesn’t mean it isn’t powerful, the Bone Collector does all the behind the scenes work to make your next shot count and every shot after that.
If you are the type to pick up an optic and make a snap judgement on just the glass alone, you may pass this by without a second thought and that would be a shame. Sure the glass isn’t the best but for a 4x power rangefinder that really excels at short range, the optics are sufficient to do what you need to do. If the glass has a true fault it’s in the lack of a coating which can make the optics a little dark at times.
Lasers on rangefinders are highly regulated and most every civilian rangefinder is going to have a similar if not exact copy of the same laser. What matters is what the rangefinder software does with the laser. While the Bone Collector isn’t the most advanced in technology, it does have Bushnell’s second generation ARC software that helps calculate both line of sight and true distance to the target.
Couple that with 1 yard plus or minus accuracy and you have all you need to get you quickly on target before the deer has a chance to leave your hunting area. The max range is about 600 yards but more realistically you are looking at 200 yards if you are sighting a deer. That is plenty enough as the true calling of this rangefinder is really with bow hunters. Sure, it will work for a rifle but there are units for the same price that can do a little more.
All of this is packed into a compact size that is slightly under 3”x5” but if you pick it up, you may be surprised to find that it weighs more than other rangefinders of a similar size. This is because of the weatherproof armor that shrouds the entire rangefinder. It keeps water out while simultaneously protecting this highly attractive rangefinder from damage from bumps and scratches.
What does it do?
For such a compact and simple design, the Bone Collector actually manages to do quite a lot. More than most would in its price range. It may be far from the most technologically advanced rangefinders on the market but it has enough to do the job you need it to do. It will get you on target and do it fast and without error. What more could you want out of a rangefinder?
There are no separate modes for bow or rifle because it lacks Bushnell’s ballistic calculator. It does have their second generation of ARC software which provides highly accurate and very fast data calculations to give you a + or – 1 yard reading on your target and adds in the calculations to give you true distance to target on uneven terrain or from your stand. As a matter of fact this software has been upgraded and is far better than the older Bushnell units that had more technology.
Though you could use this for a rifle, there are no ballistic calculations what so ever. This is a fairly standard setup on budget rangefinders. As long as you have your scoped dialed in and know your telemetry, you can still land a solid shot. The rangefinder calculation and power is no slouch. It does an excellent fob at finding the distance, even in dense woodlands. The thing about simple is there is less that can go wrong.
Like all Bushnell optics, the Bone Collector has a continuous scan mode that can be highly useful for bow hunters, allowing you to quickly range the area you intend to hunt before the deer are there. If you need to make a snap decision on a shot, you will at least have good data to back you up. This is possibly one of the most useful features on modern rangefinders.
That is really about all this rangefinder offers. It is weatherproof and durable which are always a plus. Like I said, nothing extra and no fluff to cost you more. It’s just a simple and highly effective rangefinder that does its job and does it well.
What doesn’t it do?
Though this really isn’t a specialized rangefinder it is much more effective for archers than it is for rifle hunters. The lack of any ballistic calculations is a real drawback when you can get a similar Bushnell that has that capability for just a little more money. If you are an archer, it still lacks some of the more advanced features but it has enough capability to get things done.
It’s also worth noting that the glass isn’t coated in any way and will suffer from glare and may not perform at its best in low light. Since this is a rangefinder that really excels at less than 200 yards, that isn’t a huge problem. Once you get past that 200 yard level, you can run into some issues with blur or glare.
You also pay a little more for the Bone Collector name and logo, not to mention the Realtree Xtra camo armor. It doesn’t add much in the form of quality but it does improve the overall look of the rangefinder. If you like branded products, this is a solid rangefinder. If you don’t, you can always step up to a better and more costly option.
The Final Word
Ease of Use
I am a fan of simple and effective technology. If I am going to carry it into the field, I want to know how everything works and that it will do its job when the time comes. The Bone Collector is definitely a unit you can count. The price is fair for what you get but it isn’t one of those stellar deals in rangefinders. Still, this is a great unit for the minimalist bow hunter.
Getting your hands on one of these can be a bit of a trial. The Bone Collector stuff is becoming very popular and branded items sell out fast. They may not be quite collectors’ items yet but they probably will be.