Bushnell Sentry Spotting Scope (18-36x50mm) – Under $100!

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bushnell sentry 18-36x50 black spotting scope on tripodViewing Configuration: Straight
Magnification: 18-36X
Power Variability: Variable
Adjustable Eyepieces: No
Eyepiece included: Yes
Objective Diameter: 50 mm
Close Focus Distance: 20 feet
Length: 14.7 inches
Weight: 31 ounces
Field of View: 115-75 feet/1000 yards
Eye Relief/Exit Pupil: 16 mm/ 2.8-1.4 mm
Optics Coatings: Multi-Coated
Glass: BaK-4
Focus System: Focus Knob/Single Focus
Waterproof/Fog-proof: Yes/Yes
Digiscope adaptable: No

Best Uses: Hunting, For the Range, Birdwatching

Our Rating: 3.8 out of 5 stars

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Bushnell Sentry Spotting Scope Review

This Bushnell Sentry 18-36X50 has multi-coated optics, shock-absorbing rubber armor, and two color finishes available. It’s also fully weatherproof, and it comes as a kit with some extra accessories thrown in.

Online, it has a decent-enough rating. But, for around $100, it’s not “that” bad.

When trying to decide which Sentry to feature, it was clear that the 18-36X was the model that was most frequently bought, so it gets the feature today. But, the 12-36X Sentry doesn’t do too bad itself with a decent rating with quite a few reviews.

So, to see what Bushnell has concocted for around $100, let’s take a look in our Q&A.

  • Price
  • Fully weatherproof
  • Compact
  • Lightweight
  • Camo finish available

  • Not for long distance


Sentry 18-36X50 Q&A:

How is the Sentry spotting scope element-proof?

The first aspect is its obvious shock-absorbing rubber armor. The entire body is wrapped in the armor for protecting the inside lens assemblies during a sudden and accidental fall.

Although, it goes without saying, you still don’t want to drop your spotting scope – even if it is on accident.

It’s also fully weatherproof – it’s 100 percent waterproof and fogproof!


Is this Bushnell Sentry 18-36X50 a good hunting scope?

This particular Bushnell spotter would make a great companion while out on the trail of a herd during daylight. First of all, it’s optical performance is only “good”, but it’s fully weatherproof. Check.

Next, it’s dimensions are 31 ounces and 14.7 inches in length – compact enough to take on a hunt. Its magnification range is also excellent for some free-hand use without a tripod. Check.

But, the exit pupil is rather small at its maximum of 2.8 mm at lowest power of 18X. Although it will work fine during daylight hours with ideal conditions, you might be one of those hunters who end up packing up early because the image is too dark once low light hours creep on in. No check.


What comes with the Bushnell Sentry spotting scope purchase?

This is sold as a kit, so it’s going to include some extras. And, for under $100, there’s nothing to risk, right?

According to Bushnell, they’ll send you the spotter, a soft carry case, a water-resistant hard case, and a compact tripod.

The tripod is lightweight and the legs are adjustable. It also has rubber, slip-resistant feet. It folds up pretty small and compact too, so if weight is an issue, this is a problem-solver.


Can I see bullet holes at 200 yards with the Bushnell Sentry scope?

If you can, it’s going to be because of type of targets being used and of course, caliber.

But, of course its best distance ranges are going to be between 25-100 yards. On black paper targets, it will work just fine with small caliber strikes from .22 to open-country .223s.

If you’re wanting to see positive bullet strikes at 200 yard distances, use splatter targets or go with larger magnification spotters such as the Trophy XLT spotting scope.


Can I get the Sentry spotting scope in another color?

Yes! The Sentry is available in two different finishes. This model features the classic black finish.

It also seems to be the most preferred model. The other finish is the camouflage.

While camo is a very popular finish, Bushnell disappoints with this finish. In my own amateur opinion, the camo pattern is too large for the scope, and kind of just looks like a twiggy mess more suited for a Halloween costume.

Update - 2019.04.02It appears that the Sentry with the camo finish has been discontinued and the only color option available now is black. Perhaps we were not the only ones who weren’t a fan of the camo pattern Bushnell used on this scope!


How does the camo Sentry spotting scope differ from the black one?

Fortunately, the ugly camo finish doesn’t reflect on its optical performance. As far as features goes, the black and the camo spotters are identical.


Is the Sentry 12-36×50 the most compact Bushnell spotting scope?

While this Sentry 18-36X60 is a decently-compact spotter, the 12-36X50 is actually much more compact. It’s only 21.5 ounces in weight and 8.7 inches in length.

Sounds perfectly convenient for a hunter that’s got some serious hiking and trailing to do right? Read our next question for more!


What are the spec differences of the 12-36X50?

It has a 12 feet close focus distance, a much wider field of view of 140-65 feet at 1000 yards, and bigger exit pupil of 3.1-1.5 mm.

But, there are two things against it: it has unforgiving eye relief of 14 mm! Very short if you wear specs and if you don’t want the spotter’s “red ring” mark of shame.

Also, if I’m allowed to say, it’s just ugly as sin! It looks more like a compact submarine that belongs at the bottom of a pond than on a hunter’s tripod. But it has a few reviewers and they don’t seem to mind it. So, it might be good enough for you too!

The tripod the 12-36X comes with looks much more sturdy and solid than the 18-36X one too. So, that might be a bonus!


Can I use different eyepieces with Bushnell’s Sentry spotting scope?

No. This is not an interchangeable eyepiece spotter. The only two models available in the Sentry series is the 18-36X50 and the 12-36X50.

But, don’t be disappointed if you like the idea of an affordable, interchangeable spotter… there’s still one of those yet to come.


Noteworthy Features:

  • Multi-Coated optics for bright and clear image
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Wrapped in shock-absorbing rubber armor
  • Available in Black or Camouflage finish
  • Fully weatherproof
  • Backed by Bushnell’s Lifetime Limited Warranty


Our Verdict On The Bushnell Sentry 18-36×50

The scoop on the scope is, the Bushnell Sentry 18-36X50 spotter is your close-range hunting scout. No, it’s not for long range. Trying to spot bullet strikes at 200 yards plus isn’t going to happen. However, you can’t fault Bushnell for this. It’s a 18-36X spotting scope! As an entry level spotter, you’ll get what you pay for, and for under 100 bucks, it’s a hell of a buy!

For more ranging power to positively see those impact strikes from 200 yards, you’ll want the Bushnell Trophy XLT 20-60X65 spotting scope. For hunters, forget the 200 yards and embrace the 800 yards of pristine clarity – now, that’s what we’re talkin’ ’bout!

If you want to try your hand at another brand, the BARSKA Benchmark 8-24×58 will impress. Obviously, it has less power range than the Sentry, but it definitely has better light gathering capabilities because of its larger objective lens and exit pupil. For low light power, the Barska will have you covered.

Bushnell offers the newbie a chance to become a spotting pro with the Sentry. Keeping costs low and user-friendliness at the core of its function, it’s a steal fo’ real!

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Simon is an avid outdoor enthusiast who is passionate about bringing you the most up to date, accurate & understandable information on hunting, optics, and the outdoors.

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