December 1, 2021

Best Deals in Binos? Bushnell’s Forge 15×56 and Nitro 10×42


We here at GunSpot got our hands on some Bushnell binoculars lately to use in the inaugural NRL Hunter match. Both of these binoculars were great for spotting targets. We used these for the NRL Hunter match, but we also used them for a couple long-distance shooting range days as well.

Bushnell 15x56 and 10x42 binoculars
Today, GunSpot reviews the Bushnell 15×56 Forge and 10×42 Nitro binoculars.

For the NRL Hunter match with timed stages, the 10×42 Nitro binoculars really shone because of their light weight, small size and 10X power. These binoculars are small enough to fit in a harness if that’s how you prefer to carry them while hunting. The Nitro 10×42 binos weigh in at 24.4oz while the Forge 15×56 binoculars weigh double that amount at 51 oz.

Bushnell 15x56 Forge binoculars
Focus adjustments were easy with the Bushnell Forge, yet they did not lose focus when bumped or brushed against a jacket.

Apples to Oranges?

The Forge weighs more, clearly, and it’s because they have a gargantuan 56mm objective lens that is great at transmitting light to your eyes. The Forge also has a tripod mount right on the front so you can mount these behemoths to a tripod. For us, these binoculars shined most on our long distance shooting day. We could shoot and spot bullet tracing with these for a considerable distance.

Bushnell Forge objective lenses
The 15×56 binoculars were significantly larger than the Nitro 10×42. While they offered increased magnification, it came at the cost in size and weight.

It wasn’t until we pushed out past 1,000 yards that we felt more confident using a spotting scope with much higher powers. Spotting bullet tracing is one thing, but as far as just seeing targets/animals at a distance. We could easily spot our furthest steel target with these that was a mile away. Literally.

The Details

Both sets of these binoculars have ED Prime Glass, which is Bushnell’s highest offering of glass. The lenses have the EXO Barrier coating on them that protects them from dirt and water. Water ends up rolling right off the lens instead of balling up on it. Both binos are IPX7 rated which means they are waterproof in 3’ of water for up to 30 minutes.

Bushnell 10x42 Nitro binoculars
The Bushnell Nitro 10×42 binoculars are smaller and lighter. They may be better suited for anyone on the move.

These binos also have built-in lens caps which is great if you’re the hunter that loses yours constantly. Both of these binos also have a very nice grippy rubber texture wrapped around them which feels durable and of course adds better ergonomics to them.

Man testing Bushnell binos in the field
The best way to test a pair of binoculars is to use them. How they perform isn’t captured in a spec sheet.

Conclusion

If I had to try to guide you to which model is best for you, here is what I’d say — if you are a hunter and the majority of the animals you hunt are no farther than 300 yards out or if you’re not comfortable with a shot of more than 300 yards, then we’d say the Nitro 10×42 model will be fine for you. Can you see farther than 300 yards with these? Absolutely, so you can grow with these as well. If you are a hunter who also does some distance shooting, then we’d suggest you try out the Forge 15×56 model.

Bushnell binoculars lens covers
Lens covers are incredibly important for any optics you carry into the field. Stray branches and other debris can ruin your glass.

Enough can’t be said for the glass quality of these. We never really thought a pair of binoculars would be something we’d be excited to talk about but, now we’ve been proven wrong. Bushnell’s ED Prime glass is no joke. We’ve said out loud, to ourselves mainly, when reviewing these that the image in them is so clear it almost looks fake.

The image in these looks better than our eyes naturally see. The sharp images these optics provide will leave you disappointed with many other binoculars, for sure. At the time of this article, the Nitro 10×42 sells for around $350, and the Forge 15×56 model sells for $599.

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