Bushnell Nitro 1800 LRF rolling review and field testing

Hollywood 6mm

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My Nitro 1800 rangefinder with Applied Ballistics finally came in today. I'll be out on the range this weekend with it to get some video done for Bushnell with it, as well as some other products that have been in the works. I've already had it out today playing with it around town at distance, with pics to follow. If you have any questions, requests, etc. post them here, and I will try to answer everything I can.

Nitro 1800 product page

Initial highlights by me:
$350 street price
Compact and light form factor
Applied Ballistics Ultralite engine built in (Optional upgrades to ~1700m and 5k yard ballistics software)
Connects to Bushnell app or Kestrel with AB via Bluetooth
If connected to AB Elite Kestrel, then you can get AB data out to the limits of the laser (overrides Ultralite)
Advertised 800y deer, 1200y tree, 2000y reflective range
All glass optics (no plastic lenses)
Initial testing around town shows this thing is FAST, even at 2k yards, or when rapidly switching between targets (ex 700 and 1300 yard buildings)
Works great so far even in the bright Florida sun, pointed towards the sunset (Have photos to show this that I will post later)

Edit #1: I was able to get access to the rooftop of a local condo complex to try stretching this thing out a bit (I live in FL - it's freaking flat here, so no hills to get on to get some distance). As shown in the photos, I was able to range the following:

A roof access door (thanks to a semi-reflective kick plate at the bottom of the door) at 1543y
20190829_193746.jpg20190829_175747.jpg

A water tower at 2005 yards
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Another high rise at 1579y (this time looking almost into the setting sun)
20190829_175027.jpg

I'll be doing more testing over the weekend on steel targets at Altus while we're filming product videos for the Nitro. So far, though, I'm pretty impressed with what this thing will hit.

I'll also point out that the model I got from Bushnell included the full AB Elite software upgrade for the on board ballistics engine, which is why you can see firing solutions in the photos, even at 2k yards. I hadn't loaded any of my own rifle data into the LRF yet, though, so the data provided by the LRF is based on the default profile. The standard AB Ultralite software that comes on board will only provide solutions to 800m (875y), but the rangefinder functions just fine after that - it just doesn't give you a firing solution. Pairing it to my Kestrel is straightforward and took about 30 seconds. If you pair the LRF to a Kestrel with AB, it'll give you firing solutions from the Kestrel no matter what distance you're getting from the LRF.

(Disclaimer: I am a sponsored shooter for Bushnell, as well as a frequent product tester, and the Nitro was provided by Bushnell for product field testing, filming product videos for their website, match use, etc. All opinions stated are my own, not Bushnell official policy/opinion. Mistakes are also my own.)
 
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Hollywood 6mm

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More results from this weekend (Sadly without pictures):

Ranging steel out to 1060 yards was no problem. Unfortunately, most of the targets were in front of berms, I don't have much to work with where I can isolate a target without a berm immediately behind it. I'm going to try to find some places/objects around town (maybe on the water) where I can get skylined objects and see how well the Nitro picks up there.

At 800+ yards, I was really happy with the speed. Other LRFs I have used, I needed to be able to keep the LRF on target for a second or more to really get a good range, especially in the bright sun here in FL, but the Nitro didn't have any issues there. As a result, I was still able to get good ranges on most targets just offhand, no tripod support.

Linking to the Kestrel is easy. It might need a little coaxing once the LRF shuts off to get the link reestablished, but that's something I have seen with other Kestrel connected LRFs I've tried, too, so I can't really call that a knock against the Nitro.

Internal AB seems to be functioning well, also. No issues I can see there so far.

For the price, I think it's a pretty solid LRF. It's not going to compete against the $1k+ stuff obviously, but for the money I'd say it's a pretty damn good LRF.

If anyone has specific things they'd like me to test out, let me know. I will try to get those done and get them on video or at least photos for you guys.
 

bunsen27

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@Hollywood 6mm I have a Bushnell Conex 1 mile, that tech wise is pretty dated, but the 7x glass on it is outstanding! I use it a lot for PDogs and Woodchucks out to ~600yds.

Do you happen to have access to a Conex to compare glass by chance? Your through LRF pics lead me to believe the glass on the Nitro 1800 is pretty damn nice. The eyepiece is focusable correct? Thanks.
 

Hollywood 6mm

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@Hollywood 6mm I have a Bushnell Conex 1 mile, that tech wise is pretty dated, but the 7x glass on it is outstanding! I use it a lot for PDogs and Woodchucks out to ~600yds.

Do you happen to have access to a Conex to compare glass by chance? Your through LRF pics lead me to believe the glass on the Nitro 1800 is pretty damn nice. The eyepiece is focusable correct? Thanks.
I have the ConX as well. The Nitro glass is noticeably better than the ConX despite the slightly lower magnification. Yes, the eye piece on the Nitro is focusable.
 
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Hollywood 6mm

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If you were just gonna have one of the two, which one would it be?
For me, it's the Nitro. I actually gave my ConX to my dad after I got the Nitro. I do miss the illuminated display a little with the ConX, but the Nitro is a better performer overall.
 

HuntinBuddy80

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Looks good. I've had a ConX for several years and wouldn't mind upgrading. Does this one have a place to mount it to a tripod adaptor on the bottom like the ConX?
 

Hollywood 6mm

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Looks good. I've had a ConX for several years and wouldn't mind upgrading. Does this one have a place to mount it to a tripod adaptor on the bottom like the ConX?
Unfortunately not. I'm hoping an aftermarket solution comes along like what happened with the SIG Kilo, but I have a buddy that's working on a 3d printable version, as well.
 

Hollywood 6mm

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Here's a picture I took at Alabama Precision a few weeks ago ranging a roughly 24" square at 1228. That's the longest range piece of steel I've had a chance to try so far, and the nitro worked like a champ. I'm planning to take the Nitro with me to the AG Cup in a couple weeks, so I can try it out on their UKD range.
 

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Shellbeak

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Anybody else have a problem with older Bushnell (2007) rangefinders? The covering on it has deteriorated, being very sticky. to the point of being uncomfortable. Contacted Bushnell and they offered to give me a discount on a newer finder. or use Goo-Gone on it (which didn't work)
 

Hollywood 6mm

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Anybody else have a problem with older Bushnell (2007) rangefinders? The covering on it has deteriorated, being very sticky. to the point of being uncomfortable. Contacted Bushnell and they offered to give me a discount on a newer finder. or use Goo-Gone on it (which didn't work)
I'm not sure I have ever seen one in person that's that old, to be honest. Given the way LRF tech has moved the last couple years, I'd say it's time to take advantage of that discount and upgrade.
 

codym

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Im looking at this range finder but I son't hear much about the parining ability. Does anyone know if this has an internal compass and will be able to update DOF on new targets like the leica 2800.com does?
 

Hollywood 6mm

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Im looking at this range finder but I son't hear much about the parining ability. Does anyone know if this has an internal compass and will be able to update DOF on new targets like the leica 2800.com does?
Unfortunately, it doesn't have a compass.
 
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Hollywood 6mm

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I will add that it's on a pretty heavy list of features/ideas I've been talking to some of the engineers about. My pull with the company is pretty limited, but I'm hoping some of the Kestrel features (Compass for DoF, ability to send multiple target distances to the Kestrel from the LRF, etc) will gain some traction for a future LRF.
 

codym

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If it would have had these features I would be buying one without question, even with what im assured would be a higher price tag. There aren't a bunch of options for a feature packed range finder with bluetooth connectivity. I think it could be a lucrative market if they can keep the price right.
 

IanHusaberg

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I bought the nitro 1800. I haven’t put it through it paces yet. I was wondering if anyone has bought the upgraded software and installed it to the unit. I don’t own a kestrel, but it’s next on the list to buy. Might just buy the elite and call it good. Wondering if it’s even worth the $150 to install?
 

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So I'm guessing the readout is in black only, and not a red LED ? Seems like that would be hard to read in some instances. Sounds like a nice unit otherwise.
 

Hollywood 6mm

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I bought the nitro 1800. I haven’t put it through it paces yet. I was wondering if anyone has bought the upgraded software and installed it to the unit. I don’t own a kestrel, but it’s next on the list to buy. Might just buy the elite and call it good. Wondering if it’s even worth the $150 to install?
My test unit came with the full AB upgrade installed. IMO, it's worth it for people that don't have a Kestrel and need longer than 880 yards for data. It's going to be slightly more cumbersome (updating weather from phone, only having one rifle profile), but the cost of the 1 Mile software upgrade is significantly less than a Kestrel, and even once you own one, it can make for a good backup option when needed.

If I remember right, $150 is for the 5k yard solver - and obviously the laser isn't going to reach that far. I think it's $50 to go from ~880 yards to ~1750 yards on the solver, though,

So I'm guessing the readout is in black only, and not a red LED ? Seems like that would be hard to read in some instances. Sounds like a nice unit otherwise.
Correct, no illuminated readout. So far, I haven't had any issues with seeing it until it was fully dark outside. Dark target backgrounds, etc haven't been an issue.
 

Dadude122

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I am looking into purchasing the Nitro 1800 and wanted to know if it will pair up with the Garmin Foretrex 701. Thank you
 

bunsen27

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I bought the nitro 1800. I haven’t put it through it paces yet. I was wondering if anyone has bought the upgraded software and installed it to the unit. I don’t own a kestrel, but it’s next on the list to buy. Might just buy the elite and call it good. Wondering if it’s even worth the $150 to install?
My test unit came with the full AB upgrade installed. IMO, it's worth it for people that don't have a Kestrel and need longer than 880 yards for data. It's going to be slightly more cumbersome (updating weather from phone, only having one rifle profile), but the cost of the 1 Mile software upgrade is significantly less than a Kestrel, and even once you own one, it can make for a good backup option when needed.

If I remember right, $150 is for the 5k yard solver - and obviously the laser isn't going to reach that far. I think it's $50 to go from ~880 yards to ~1750 yards on the solver, though,
Well I learned something today. I wasn't aware that you could upgrade the AB version on the nitro 1800.


__________

Upgrade your Nitro 1800 laser rangefinder to extend your ranging capabilities and access additional features. Choose from two upgrade levels:


Sportsman Upgrade: Extend your range to target up to 1,750 yards/1,600 meters (up from 875 yards/800 meters for Ultralite included out-of-the-box).


Additional features from Ultralite to Sportsman:


  • Spin drift correction
  • Coriolis correction
  • Sight height

Elite Upgrade: Extend your range to target up to 2,220 yards/1600 meters (up from 1,750 yards/1,600 meters included with Sportsman upgrade).


Video overview of how to upgrade your Bushnell Ballistics App.
Additional features from Sportsman to Elite:



  • Aerodynamic jump correction
  • Applied Ballistics custom drag models
  • Applied Ballistics personal drag models
  • Zero offset
  • Muzzle velocity temp table
  • Sight scale factoring
  • Moving target lead
  • Target speed estimator
  • Max point blank range/zero
  • Rifle cant calculation

___________

So a question for @Hollywood 6mm and @DocUSMCRetired: I already have a Kestrel 5700 Sportsman. I'm assuming this "Sportman Upgrade" on the Nitro is what I already have on my Kestrel or very similar? Also what exactly does the statement: "Upgrade your Nitro 1800 laser rangefinder to extend your ranging capabilities and access additional features." ? Specifically the "extend your ranging capabilities" part. Are they referring to just ballistic solutions beyond the base 875yds or actually improving returns/readings on targets beyond that distance?
 
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Hollywood 6mm

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Well I learned something today. I wasn't aware that you could upgrade the AB version on the nitro 1800.


__________

Upgrade your Nitro 1800 laser rangefinder to extend your ranging capabilities and access additional features. Choose from two upgrade levels:


Sportsman Upgrade: Extend your range to target up to 1,750 yards/1,600 meters (up from 875 yards/800 meters for Ultralite included out-of-the-box).


Additional features from Ultralite to Sportsman:


  • Spin drift correction
  • Coriolis correction
  • Sight height

Elite Upgrade: Extend your range to target up to 2,220 yards/1600 meters (up from 1,750 yards/1,600 meters included with Sportsman upgrade).


Video overview of how to upgrade your Bushnell Ballistics App.
Additional features from Sportsman to Elite:



  • Aerodynamic jump correction
  • Applied Ballistics custom drag models
  • Applied Ballistics personal drag models
  • Zero offset
  • Muzzle velocity temp table
  • Sight scale factoring
  • Moving target lead
  • Target speed estimator
  • Max point blank range/zero
  • Rifle cant calculation

___________

So a question for @Hollywood 6mm and @DocUSMCRetired: I already have a Kestrel 5700 Sportsman. I'm assuming this "Sportman Upgrade" on the Nitro is what I already have on my Kestrel or very similar? Also what exactly does the statement: "Upgrade your Nitro 1800 laser rangefinder to extend your ranging capabilities and access additional features." ? Specifically the "extend your ranging capabilities" part. Are they referring to just ballistic solutions beyond the base 875yds or actually improving returns/readings on ranging targets beyond that distance?
It's only the ballistics part of the Nitro that gets upgraded - its got the maxinum ranging capabilities out of the box. That wording is a bit confusing, and the Elite contains a typo (says 1600 meters when it should be ~2k meters).

The Ultralite software is overridden when linked to your Kestrel, and whatever your Kestrel is capable of solving for is what the Nitro will display when paired. The onboard software upgrade for the Nitro comes in handy when disconnected from your Kestrel.
 
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bunsen27

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It's only the ballistics part of the Nitro that gets upgraded - its got the maxinum ranging capabilities out of the box. That wording is a bit confusing, and the Elite contains a typo (says 1600 meters when it should be ~2k meters).

The Ultralite software is overridden when linked to your Kestrel, and whatever your Kestrel is capable of solving for is what the Nitro will display when paired. The onboard software upgrade for the Nitro comes in handy when disconnected from your Kestrel.
Thanks, I appreciate the clarification. Perhaps you can get Bushy to fix their typo and reword that sentence more clearly. It makes it sound like you are upgrading the AB AND the Nitro functionality, when you are only upgrading AB level. It was confusing the hell out of me why/how the Nitro1800 would not be fully functional (ranging wise) out of the box. :unsure:
 

Hollywood 6mm

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Thanks, I appreciate the clarification. Perhaps you can get Bushy to fix their typo and reword that sentence more clearly. It makes it sound like you are upgrading the AB AND the Nitro functionality, when you are only upgrading AB level. It was confusing the hell out of me why/how the Nitro1800 would not be fully functional (ranging wise) out of the box. :unsure:
They're actually watching this thread, but I will make sure someone's aware.
 
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Guiseppe83

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More results from this weekend (Sadly without pictures):

Ranging steel out to 1060 yards was no problem. Unfortunately, most of the targets were in front of berms, I don't have much to work with where I can isolate a target without a berm immediately behind it. I'm going to try to find some places/objects around town (maybe on the water) where I can get skylined objects and see how well the Nitro picks up there.

At 800+ yards, I was really happy with the speed. Other LRFs I have used, I needed to be able to keep the LRF on target for a second or more to really get a good range, especially in the bright sun here in FL, but the Nitro didn't have any issues there. As a result, I was still able to get good ranges on most targets just offhand, no tripod support.

Linking to the Kestrel is easy. It might need a little coaxing once the LRF shuts off to get the link reestablished, but that's something I have seen with other Kestrel connected LRFs I've tried, too, so I can't really call that a knock against the Nitro.

Internal AB seems to be functioning well, also. No issues I can see there so far.

For the price, I think it's a pretty solid LRF. It's not going to compete against the $1k+ stuff obviously, but for the money I'd say it's a pretty damn good LRF.

If anyone has specific things they'd like me to test out, let me know. I will try to get those done and get them on video or at least photos for you guys.
Sorry to jump in- not trying to high Jack. I purchased nitro1800 early September. I recently upgraded to the level 2 “sportsman”. However after following directions for “download” (was only pdf file) . Anyone experience problem with upgrades?
 

Hollywood 6mm

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Flori-duh.
Sorry to jump in- not trying to high Jack. I purchased nitro1800 early September. I recently upgraded to the level 2 “sportsman”. However after following directions for “download” (was only pdf file) . Anyone experience problem with upgrades?
Did you try to download something from the website, or through the app?
 

Guiseppe83

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Did you try to download something from the website, or through the app?
Through the app. Spent 1hr18min with customer service to get escalated to some one at Bushnell in KS. Got a direct number and contact. He said would be handled by end of business. Called me back at 4pm said now idea why but can not get device ID to push through? Was shipping a new one “completely unlocked” and is to arrive today . Asked if I would send other one back to allow team to diagnose & repair? Not sure if sending back after repair ? Was just off the way was communicated about “repair”. I’ll post update when I get new one tested. Most frustrating is the time frame I owned this before any “software” was available. Only reason this was purchased was for internal ballistics.
 

Hollywood 6mm

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Through the app. Spent 1hr18min with customer service to get escalated to some one at Bushnell in KS. Got a direct number and contact. He said would be handled by end of business. Called me back at 4pm said now idea why but can not get device ID to push through? Was shipping a new one “completely unlocked” and is to arrive today . Asked if I would send other one back to allow team to diagnose & repair? Not sure if sending back after repair ? Was just off the way was communicated about “repair”. I’ll post update when I get new one tested. Most frustrating is the time frame I owned this before any “software” was available. Only reason this was purchased was for internal ballistics.
The interal ballistics software works out of the box, but it's limited to 800m/880y. I can't speak to the issues with the upgrade, since I haven't done any of that with mine. I get the feeling you're getting a replacement with the full Elite level software upgrade installed, though, so it'll run ballistics for anything you can get a laser return on.
 
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stainless007

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Why can't I find any reviews on the Bushnell Nitro 1800 other than here? A few (literally two) video reviews that are not Bushnell themselves. Is the product just that new?
 
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Hollywood 6mm

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While can't I find any reviews on the Bushnell Nitro 1800 other than here? A few (literally two) video reviews that are not Bushnell themselves. Is the product just that new?
Yep, it just started shipping 8-ish weeks ago. It's not a big, glitzy, expensive unit so it's not getting the "ooh" factor of some of the high end units, but I still think it performs well above its price point.
 
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Hollywood 6mm

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Something that I just remembered - I talked to Austin from NK about the 1800 and working with the Kestrel HUD (via Kestrel, of course), and he said the Nitro should work beautifully with the HUD when its released. I have a HUD coming when they start shipping, so when I have mine (and the Kestrel update needed for 2 device connections), I will be posting results here, as well.
 

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Something that I just remembered - I talked to Austin from NK about the 1800 and working with the Kestrel HUD (via Kestrel, of course), and he said the Nitro should work beautifully with the HUD when its released. I have a HUD coming when they start shipping, so when I have mine (and the Kestrel update needed for 2 device connections), I will be posting results here, as well.
I'm watching your updates. I've been putting off buying a rf for quite a while and so far this one is really appealing to me.
 

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The interal ballistics software works out of the box, but it's limited to 800m/880y. I can't speak to the issues with the upgrade, since I haven't done any of that with mine. I get the feeling you're getting a replacement with the full Elite level software upgrade installed, though, so it'll run ballistics for anything you can get a laser return on.
Update on my behave.
The ballistic software out of the box is useless unless you are shooting a 11.25 twist and have the rifle set up per the “greyed out - locked” metrics that are used to calculate solution.

Meaning a 6.5 through a 1/8 will not calculate when twist rate is being “held hostage” 1/11.25. Along with other inputs being locked out with out update.

I bite the bullet and paid for the elite upgrade. The unit was not “accepting the unlock” which is what I was told by numerous tech folks (hours in total on phone). I was escalated to a gentlemen in Ks Hq I believe and told would be fixed by end of day. I received call later 1615’ish, was told wasn’t able to get update unlocked. And a new unit was opened, unlocked completely by “his team” shipped and would arrive Thursday (Halloween). I was asked to ship mine back to a R&d department with provided shipping label.

this all happened. I received replacement it’s unlocked and as I paid for. For guys hereon out hopefully there are no issues; as this a smooth little device. Small hiccup for me is no mount options. Had hopped to mount on grayops elite amp plate with spotter. Seems no mount screw in this device or mounts available. Curious if has to do with on board ballistics... know that’s a touchy area with civi market.

yes now the device is as expected.

this was purchased from cabelas 9/22/2019, was told would have it two-days.
that didn’t happen.

Did not ship till 8/14/2019.

updates to adjust software in AB not even available when item was in hand “coming soon”

10/26 I check — elite is available —- purchased. No go. New unit arrived 10/31/19.

if I had not spent hours (I bill at $37/hr—- think they will cover if I invoice) on phone no idea if product would work now? I am some what tech savory . how about the ol’guys??? This is awesome tool with great tech. But seems communication is failing between the two companies and possibly a third responsible for the Bushnell/Ab app.
 

Hollywood 6mm

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A buddy of mine actually made a tripod mount for the Nitro on his 3d printer. Unfortunately, tripod support wasn't included in the design (I have no idea why), but I am hoping someone will pick up the ball and run with it on a tripod mount. @Tyler Kemp - I'm lookin' at you.
 

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A buddy of mine actually made a tripod mount for the Nitro on his 3d printer. Unfortunately, tripod support wasn't included in the design (I have no idea why), but I am hoping someone will pick up the ball and run with it on a tripod mount. @Tyler Kemp - I'm lookin' at you.
Yahhh!!! I’d love me a little tripod 3D printed love!!! @Tyler Kemp can gladly pass along an Address! Haha
 

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A buddy of mine actually made a tripod mount for the Nitro on his 3d printer. Unfortunately, tripod support wasn't included in the design (I have no idea why), but I am hoping someone will pick up the ball and run with it on a tripod mount. @Tyler Kemp - I'm lookin' at you.
@Guiseppe83

Someone get me a rangefinder. We can have a mount in a few days. Bushnell is the one company that has failed to EVER call me back in regards to stocking scopes, RF, etc....or else we'd already have this done

leupold on tripod.jpg
 

stainless007

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Bit the bullet (no long distance shooting with that one.) bought a Nitro 1600 and looking forward to getting it upgraded to Sportsman software, as that should serve my needs, not looking at taking 1500+ yard shots, mostly for deer hunting. I also have a Bushnell scope, so excited about being able to pull my reticle up on the app and the software show me shot placement within the reticle. I will be doing a video review of this entire process because it’s my first “smart” lrf and want to test how accurate everything is once all the data is loaded. Correct me if I wrong, but in theory, I should put all the data in, the app shows me where to place the shot within the scope/reticle, now in time I should be able to handle the shot placement without the software, just the RF and adjust my MOA to the range and from experience of using the app, know were to place the shot. (Hey, not all of us are experts! ;-)) That said, could this be a good training tool for newbies?
 

Hollywood 6mm

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Correct me if I wrong, but in theory, I should put all the data in, the app shows me where to place the shot within the scope/reticle, now in time I should be able to handle the shot placement without the software, just the RF and adjust my MOA to the range and from experience of using the app, know were to place the shot. (Hey, not all of us are experts! ;-)) That said, could this be a good training tool for newbies?
Pretty much. If you have a known distance target, you can do the same thing in the app (out to 880 yards) without even using the LRF.
 
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