Clay Tests Bushnell’s Smartphone-Compatible Elite 1 Mile CONX Rangefinder & 1-6.5X SMRS

The Kestrel- and smartphone-compatible Elite 1 Mile CONX from Bushnell is a rugged yet affordable rangefinder that really impressed the author.

This week I got a chance to take a quick look at two fantastic products from Bushnell. How am I already so excited in the pants for these products, when I have had them less than a week? Easy. These aren’t completely new. They are updated models of two products I have actually been running for years. Bushnell has really come up in the world with the Elite Tactical line, and they represent arguably the best buy in optics today.

Elite 1 Mile CONX

The Elite 1 Mile CONX is an update to the ARC 1600, also a product I have used for a long time. I won this off a prize table about five years ago, and mine has seen almost daily use since then. I was very impressed by the old model; it is a great range finder for the size. Mine has pretty much lived in my truck ever since, no matter the conditions outside. The new Elite 1 Mile features some great updates I am very happy about. The processor has been upgraded, and it ranges twice as fast as the old one. The screen is brighter, even with new batteries in both. The new model features a scan mode that is pretty handy, especially inside of 500 meters. Hold the ranging button down and scan across your targets, and a constant range is fed to the display. This is pretty cool, and something I expect to pay a lot more for.

The CONX helps you determine your long range shot and help to get first shot hits at distance.

In my testing, the new model also made it further before it ran out of ability. Granted, my previous model has seen some abuse. No telling how many miles it has bounced around the truck, not to mention being in snow, rain, and even a sandstorm. The Elite 1 Mile ranged faster, farther, and easier. I finally stopped the test at 1,377 meters with my truck not because the range finder ran out of ability, but that I actually ran out of terrain. One mile line of sight in open country is actually harder to find than you might think.

All I all, I am very excited to see Bushnell continuing to step up its game. Some companies will build a solid name on one generation of product, then use that name to sell overpriced junk the next generation. Not the case here. From what I have seen, there is nothing but good in the new releases.  This is an exciting time to be alive, products just keep getting less expensive and better. Both of these are great buys if you are in the market, products I have absolutely no problem endorsing. I already have for years, privately. MSRP: $819.95.

1-6.5 SMRS

I also had a chance to try out the Elite Tactical 1-6.5X SMRS scope. The old version of this was tough as nails. I am not exactly known for being gentle on equipment, and this was the first optic I bought for 3-Gun. I ran this little guy for right at three years, and it never left me wanting. This became my go-to recommendation for anyone getting into the sport because it was such a bargain. The illumination is great, they are exceedingly knuckle dragger resistant, and the price is absolutely right. The new version features much-improved turrets and battery compartment design.

The 1-6.5x SMRS from Bushnell impressed the author with its lens clarity and ruggedness.

I never had a complaint about the clarity of the glass in the old version, especially for the price, but I was blown away by how clear the new version is. Bushnell hit one out of the park here. It isn’t exactly a fair comparison on the illumination between the old and new; my personal version has seen heavy use. I remember it being good when it was new, and today it is still daylight bright without an issue. The new one does seem brighter, though.

The author noted that the turrets on the new SMRS were much improved over and earlier version he had.

The 7th illumination setting on the new one is plenty for daytime in the desert, and the 8th and 9th settings are too much. This is a pretty great evolution of the electronics part of this. Over the next few months I will be durability testing the new model, but I can’t imagine it’s not as tough as the old one. If you are in the market for something like this, it is pretty hard to beat. MSRP: $1,822.45.

About the author: Clay Martin is a former Marine and Green Beret, retiring out of 3rd Special Forces Group. He is a multi-decade and -service sniper, as well as 3-Gun competitor and Master ranked shooter in USPSA Production. In addition to writing about guns, he is the author of “Last Son of The War God,” a novel about shooting people that deserve it. You can also follow him on twitter, @offthe_res or his website,

{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Joe May 15, 2017, 8:39 pm

    I never get turrets AND a bdc on a scope like this. Take the turrets off and make it lighter.

  • Scoped May 15, 2017, 4:09 pm

    I purchased my last bushnell (et4305) about four years ago. After 400rds of 308 from a bolt action the turrets quit working. It then took three months for the replacement to come in.

    • Mr James May 16, 2017, 11:44 am

      Thanks for sharing your use and repair time with Bushnell. Can I glean from your contexts you find the product less than satisfying and Bushnell repair service slow to R&R there product ?,I ask only to better understand a bigger picture. If my own Scope of choice, 2 now broken and from different Manufactures (price lower and midrange by Hundreds), indicate my need to buy a higher end glassing setup or is my (transporting, shooting) to hard for any Scoping rifle. I do dislike waiting for any repair from what I perceive crappie internals or poopie design flaws. Most every Scope and glassing system I bought from the 50’s-70’s still functions as designed, shows it’s age and gladly works as backup for the newer gear. Also a residence or State helps me evaluate transporting issues that are unanswered in your post. Thanks MrJ. CA.

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