My Usual GameJanuary 22, 2016

I perform reconstructive surgery on my laser rangefinder

A year and a half ago, I bought a Bushnell Tour Z6 laser rangefinder. It’s not as good at picking up distant targets as its predecessor in my golf bag -- an ancient Bushnell PinSeeker 1500 -- but it’s small enough to fit in a pants pocket, and the battery lasts forever, and I like it. My only beef about the Z6 (as I wrote here) is that the eyepiece, which keeps sunlight off the lens while you’re using it and is the thing you turn to adjust the focus, looks solid but is actually a cheap, floppy rubber tube that’s held in place by not-very-strong glue.

The eyepiece on mine came almost all the way off one of the first times I used it, but I pushed it back on and tried to be careful with it. At some point during a round last spring, though, it disappeared. A reader named Matty wrote to say that he'd had a similar experience:

"I have this problem with my Z6 as well. Only difference is I didn’t lose my eye piece -- it just came off. Called Bushnell, and apparently it’s a common problem. He says to just clean the inside and the eyepiece part of the rangefinder with alcohol and use 'Zap Glue,' like they use, at the 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock positions so it doesn’t interfere with the focusing part of the rangefinder. There’s a dot on top of the eyepiece where you can make an alignment so that, when you glue the rubber eyepiece back, you can align the red line with it. As for the rubber eyepiece going missing, I’m sure Bushnell would be happy to send you a new one."

Because I had lazily waited to complain until after my warranty had expired, Bushnell's happiness about sending me a new eyepiece depended on my sending them $6.00 for a replacement part and $3.10 for shipping, plus a stamp for the order form (which can be downloaded from the company's website but not submitted there). Worse, the new eyepiece they sent me wasn't new. It was clearly a cadaver part from somebody else's busted Z6, because there was lots of old glue stuck to the inner surface of the rubber (which is turned inside-out in the photo below, to make the old glue easier to see):

There was also residual finger crud, presumably from the previous owner, in the indentations on the other side:

Oh, well, forgive and forget.

Since the kind of glue Bushnell uses at the factory clearly doesn't work very well, I used epoxy glue instead -- after first setting the focus at a distance I figured I could live with, since I assumed (correctly) that the eyepiece would no longer turn once I had finished cementing it in place.

Bushnell apparently isn't the only company whose rangefinders don't stay together. Here's my golf buddy Rick's Callaway LR550, which was made by Nikon and probably ought to have come with a roll of Scotch tape:

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