Last year, Bushnell came out with their Forge line of optics. The Bushnell Forge optics boast better lens coatings and higher magnification over their Nitro line. I opted to check out their 4.5-27×50 scope and see how it works for long range shooting.
Bushnell Forge Terrain
The Bushnell Forge collection comes in Terrain color which looks sort of like a burnt bronze. I ordered it to go with my FDE SCAR17S. The Forge riflescopes do come in traditional black. The scope I chose does come in black or Terrain however there is a subtle difference. There are five options of 4.5-27×50 scopes and it comes down to reticle and focal plane.
Do you see the problem? Terrain color scopes only come with MOA reticles. I wanted a MIL reticle in a Terrain colored scope but for some reason that is not an option.
I am used to shooting a MIL scope on my 6.5 Creedmoor M1A out to 900 yards. I prefer to use holdover to adjust for bullet drop. So while the MOA reticle is not the same measurements, I can use the reticle in a similar manner. At least that is what I was thinking when I ordered the Terrain Deploy MOA FFP.
The Deploy reticle only goes to 45 MOA however you can only see this at around 12x. If you increase magnification past 12x, the bottom of the Deploy reticle moves outside of the viewable area.
At full 27x magnification you can see up to 22 MOA at the bottom of the viewable area.
Above you can see the cross hairs are delineated with 1 MOA marks and longer 5 MOA marks. The dots are for quick reference with vertical and horizontal MOA marks which you would use for kentucky windage.
The Forge riflescopes all come with a bolt on power ring throw lever. I love levers like the switchview for making it easier to rapidly change magnification and the Forge scopes come with one mounted by factory. Since it is bolted on, you can remove it if you do not like throw levers.
Parallax adjustment is on the side. While this is nothing new, I was surprised that it can adjust all the way down to 25 yards. My other long range scopes, a Vortex Viper PST 6-25×50 and Meopta Meopro 6.5-20×50 both only have parallax adjustment from 50 yards to infinity. The Bushnell Forge would be great on a precision rimfire just for the parallax alone.
Since I ordered the Deploy MOA FFP scope, the turrets adjust in 1/4 MOA increments.
All the Forge riflescopes have zero stops and resettable zero turrets. It was rather easy to reset the zero of my turret for my 400 yard zero.
This Forge scope came with a small keychain tool. The small allen wrench used for the turret set screws is held at the bottom. I have not been able to figure out what the rest of the tools are for. The larger allen wrench and torx head do not seem to correspond with any other screws on the scope. At the top there is a rounded flat protrusion that seems perfect for a battery cap where you would use a coin. And the center is hexagonal which I would assume is for tightening or loosening the nut of a scope mount? But the Forge scope did not come with a mount.
The Forge 4.5-27×50 does come with front and rear flip caps as well as an extended sun shade.
However if you want to use the scope cover, you cannot use the flip caps or the sun shade as they are either too long or too big for the scope cover.
Ranging With Deploy MOA
According to the Bushnell Forge 4.5-27×50 owner’s manual you can actually range with the scope and reticle.
Measure your target using the MOA hashmarks in the reticle. You can also measure something near your target as long as it is the same distance as your target. Estimate its height or width in inches. Multiply that measurement by 95.5 and then divide the MOA measurement. If you are using the height of an object, make sure you measure the height in MOA.
Here’s an example: A coyote is sunning himself in a snowfield beside a fencepost; having crossed the fence earlier, you know that the post is about four feet high, or 48 inches. The fencepost measures 7 MOA in your reticle
Using It For Long Range
As I mentioned above, I was curious how well the Bushnell Forge 4.5-27×50 would work for shooting far. My local range only goes as far as 400 yards and I can hit steel that far just using a red dot and a magnifier. So using this scope at 400 yards seems like a waste. However I did use that range to zero the scope. I was having some issues with my SCAR17S not grouping properly so I mounted the 4.5-27×50 to my Ruger American Predator chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor.
Then I went to Pala Indian Reservation shooting range and they have steel setup all the way out to 880 yards. This would be a good test of the Bushnell Forge 4.5-27×50.
See that dirt looking path go up on the right hand side of the hill? At the top there is a road that cuts across. A miner likes to drive his truck across that road and doesn’t feel the need to call the range to let us know he is going to drive across. So it is up to the shooters to pay attention. When I was about to shoot the furthest target array, at the top of the right hand side path, I saw the truck drive across and called cease fire. Super annoying. Other than that issue, the range is great and it wasn’t very busy. Only issue is they are only open from 8am to 2pm and they are a little out of the way. Took me two hours to drive there from my parents house in LA.
I rezeroed the scope for 400 yards. I did this so I would have enough reticle for hold over out to 880 yards. I found that my POI at 880 yards corresponded with a POA of 18-19 MOA hold. You can see that in the photos below.
I was able to record some hits on steel at 400, 700 and 880 yards through my Meopta spotting scope.
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Turkeys and circles beware! Shooting my #rugeramericanpredator in #65creedmoor 400, 700 and 880 yards. The 880 yard target is tough. I was dancing all around it. I think it is an 8” plate. So sub MOA. Not easy for my lack of skill. had a hard time hitting it. #palashootingrange filmed with my iPhone @phoneskope and @meoptasportoptics @meoptaoptika @bkmiller556 @precisionriflenetwork
Should You Get One?
One of the biggest problems I had with this Bushnell Forge 4.5-27×50 was the windage adjustment. I would use the reticle to measure how far off my POI were from my POA and dial the windage knob accordingly. However it did not see to have much affect so I ended up having to guesstimate the windage and keep dialing until POI shifted. This resulted in wasting a lot of ammo and I just used kentucky windage most of the time. The elevation knob did seem to correspond. Originally I had zeroed the scope for a 300 yard zero but since I want to shoot this gun further, I adjusted elevation for a 400 yard zero. I used Strelok Pro ballistic app to figure out my MOA hold for 400 yards. Then dialed that much elevation. Fired at the 400 yard targets and confirmed the adjustment.
The other problem I have is that Bushnell does not offer their Terrain colored scope with a MILs FFP Deploy reticle. While I was able to make the MOA work for me, I prefer MILS since I like to go shoot with my friends and it people who shoot far typically use MILs and to give corrections in MILs to an MOA shooter is a pain in the rear. But the Deploy MOA reticle is not unusable, I was able to shoot like I normally would with my MILs Vortex scope. I am just holding in MOA rather MIL.
Price wise the Bushell Forge does not break the bank at $979.99 for Terrain or $879.99 for black. It seemed very capable for long distance shooting and may be a scope to consider for entry level long range shooting like me.