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The Bushnell Corporation was founded in 1948 and is a manufacture of sports optical equipment, including riflescopes, binoculars, spotting scopes, telescopes, range finders, and red dot sights.
When Bushnell first started in the optics business, they only focused on binoculars. In 1961, the company founder, David Bushnell, decided to expand into rifle scopes and spotting scopes. When Bushnell first entered the riflescope market, they focused on hunting scopes but later expanded their scope offering to include a wide range of scope models.
Like many of the more popular riflescope brands, Bushnell features scope options to cover most any shooting or hunting need, and scopes to fit any budget. The current Bushnell scope offering covers everything from entry-level rifle scopes for a 22 rifle up to scopes built for precision long-range shooting.
We carry the Bushnell line of scopes at my day job, so I had to go through some Bushnell based training that provided details about the brand, their scope line, the warranty, etc. While I do get quite a few questions about the various Bushnell scope models, one of the more common questions I’m asked about Bushnell is this one: Where are Bushnell scopes made or manufactured?
Rifle Scope Country of Origin
As I’ve previously mentioned on this site, I understand the context of that question as to where something is made plays a role in its perceived value and reliability.
When discussing where a scope is made or manufactured, it’s also worth discussing the concept called Country of Origin. The Country of Origin (Or COO as its commonly called) is part of the importation laws governing items that are imported into the U.S.
The regulations around the country of origin state that components of an item play a role in determining where an item was made or manufactured regardless of where the item is assembled. When or if the parts of the product exceed a certain percentage, then the item has to be marked as being made from the country where the components are sourced.
For example, a rifle scope that is comprised of components from Japan, but is assembled in the United States will have to be marked as being made in Japan, even though it was put together in the U.S.A.
In cases where the components of an item are sourced from multiple countries, the country with the largest percentage of the parts will be deemed as the country of origin.
Since very few U.S. rifle scope brands manufacture their lenses or components, most rifle scopes sold in the U.S. are marked as being sourced from a foreign country. That being said, there are still a few US brands that make their optical products in the US, but that number has been dwindling every year.
Where are Bushnell scopes made?
Let’s get back to answering the main focus of this article. Here’s an overview of each Bushnell scope series and where it’s manufactured (at the time of this writing):
Bushnell Banner Scopes – The Banner series from Bushnell is one of their oldest lines and is their most entry-level/budget-friendly scope series. The Banner series is made in China.
Bushnell Trophy Scopes – The Trophy series of scopes is another of Bushnell’s entry-level scope series that is geared towards hunting. The Trophy scope models are manufactured in South Korea.
Bushnell Legend Scopes – The Legend scope series is also an entry-level scope series that is much like the Trophy series, with different reticle optics. The Legend scopes offer BDC reticles and slightly better glass. The Legend scopes are made in China and South Korea.
Bushnell Banner 2 Scopes – The Banner 2 scope models are an upgraded version of the top-rated Bushnell Banner series of rifle scopes. The Banner 2 riflescopes feature significantly better glass and features compared to the original Banner scope models. Like the original Banner scope, the Banner 2 scopes are also made in China.
Bushnell AR Optics – The AR Optics series is a mid-priced scope series that is designed for the AR-15 and AR-10 rifle platforms. These scopes come with BDC turrets made for the popular AR-based calibers:
- 5.56 Nato
- 6.5 Creedmoor
- .224 Valkyrie
- .308 Winchester
- .223 Remington
The Bushnell AR scope series are manufactured in South Korea.
Bushnell Prime Scopes – The Prime series of scopes is also part of Bushnell’s entry-level scope offering. The Prime series is built on a 1-inch tube and offers better than average optical quality. The Prime scope models are manufactured in South Korea.
Bushnell Engage Scopes – The Engage series of scopes is also built on a 1-inch tube and offers more power magnification options than the Prime series, in addition to the Deploy MOA reticle. Like the Prime scope models, the Engage scopes are also made in South Korea.
Bushnell Nitro Scopes – The Nitro series of scopes is built on a 30mm tube and offers both second and first focal plane options within the line. The Nitro scope models are manufactured in South Korea.
Bushnell Forge Scopes – The Forge series of scopes is Bushnell’s premium series of SFP and FFP scopes for long range for long-range shooting and hunting (although they are not as good as the Bushnell Elite Tactical models). While there are a few FFP options in Bushnell’s Elite Tactical series, the Forge scope models are one step under the Elite and cost a bit less.
The first generation Forge scopes were manufactured in South Korea. Sometime in 2019, Bushnell transitioned the production of the Forge line over to an optical facility in China. The Chinese made Forge scopes have decent glass, but the optics on the South Korean made models is outstanding for an optic in the $800 to $999 price range.
Bushnell Match Pro Scope – The Match Pro scope is geared towards the different types of bench rest competitions. It’s a mid-priced option for NRL, PRL, etc. The Match Pro scopes are made in China.
Bushnell Elite Tactical – The Elite Tactical series is Bushnell’s top of the line scope offering and is geared towards long-range shooting. All the Elite Tactical series of scopes are manufactured in Japan.
Here are some of the frequently asked questions that I see and hear concerning the where are Bushnell scopes manufactured question:
Are Bushnell scopes made in China?
While several of the current scopes offered by Bushnell are made in China, some scope models are sourced from other locations like South Korea and Japan. Where a Bushnell scope is manufactured is dependent on the scope series or family.
Are Bushnell scopes made in the USA?
Currently, none of the Bushnell lines of riflescopes are manufactured in the USA. Some are made in China, some are sourced from South Korea, and their top tier scopes come from Japan.
Where are Bushnell Elite scopes made?
All of Bushnell’s current offering of Elite rifle scopes are made in Japan. The older Elite series, like the 3200, 3500, 4200, 4500, and 6500 scope models, were also manufactured in Japan as well.
Who owns Bushnell scopes?
The Bushnell Corporation is currently owned by an outdoor conglomerate called Vista Outdoors, which also owns the Weaver, Millet, Tasco, and Simmons sporting optics brand.
Have the Bushnell Elite scopes been discontinued?
The original series of Bushnell Elite scopes were called the Elite series and had numerical names to identify the series and features. Those Elite series included the following models:
- Elite 3200
- Elite 3500
- Elite 4200
- Elite 4500
- Elite 6500
While all the Elite series were made in Japan, the number in the sequence identified the optical quality of the glass and the features. The higher the number, the better the optical quality. The 6500 series was the top of the line in the original Elite series.
In 2012, Bushnell discontinued the entire Elite scopes series and replaced it with the Bushnell Elite Tactical series of scopes, which are still being offered for sale.
I liked the Bushnell Elite series and had a few 3200 and 4500 scope models. I always felt that they were good value for the cost, and held up well over time.
Where are Bushnell Forge scopes made?
As I mentioned previously, the first generation of Forge scopes were manufactured in South Korea, but the current Forge line of scopes is manufactured at an optical facility in China. The Korean-made Forge models feature some exceptional glass, but they aren’t cheap with an MSRP in the $800 to $1000 range.
Which Bushnell scopes are made in Japan?
Currently, the only Bushnell scope series that is made in Japan is the Elite Tactical series. Previously, Bushnell had a few other scope series that were made in Japan, but those scope models have been discontinued.
As I come across more questions or data about this topic, I’ll update the FAQ section.
I’ve been working in the firearms and sporting optics industry for over 20 years, with a personal and professional interest in all things related to rifle scopes, Through a combination of work experience, formal training, and personal experiences, I have extensive experience mounting, testing, and evaluating different rifle scope models across most major optical brands.