The Best Rangefinders for 2017

Upland Optics Best Selling Rangefinder

The Upland Optics Perception 1000 is our favorite rangefinder. Click the picture above to learn more.

Rangefinders belong to an innovative class of technology that has been evolving over the last century. These handheld gadgets are useful in a variety of situations. The system itself arose almost one hundred years ago, primarily adapted alongside cameras. In recent decades, these helpful tools have been utilized for solo performance in a variety of fields. They offer great benefits for hunting, archery, and golf. This technical guide explores the vital specifications of these revolutionary devices. Before detailing the essential characteristics of a sound rangefinder, we will present the best ones available on the current market. While the functional mechanics remain relatively identical, minor modifications allow these machines to be employed for a variety of different purposes.

The Best Rangefinders for Hunting

Hunters use rangefinders to gauge the distance between themselves and their prey. Once they know how far away the prey is, they can make a more accurate shot. A rangefinder works exceptionally well when paired with a rifle scope. Here are the best gadgets for an accurate shot:

1. Upland Optics Perception 1000 Laser Rangefinder

Upland Optics is the brand we recommend the most for hunters, and their all new rangefinder is a perfect example of why. Simple and effective, this device is built to be rugged enough to handle the extreme conditions that hunters often face.

With an effective range of 1000 yards, this rangefinder will be dialed in on distances well outside the effective range of most hunters. You will always know exactly how far of a shot you are taking or how much distance you have to cover to get within range.

Lightweight and portable, the device isn’t even noticeable when added to your other heavy gear. I personally carry it on my chest attached to my binocular harness, making it very easy to access quickly.

2. Nikon 8397 Aculon Laser Rangefinder

This bestselling device from Nikon tops our list for a variety of reasons. Priced well below the higher end rangefinders, the Aculon is perfect for someone who doesn’t need ultra high-end features, but still wants to get the job done.

With a range of just 550 yards, others on this list have far more impressive stats. However, 550 yards is a much greater distance than most hunters can safely and ethically take shots.

Another huge benefit of this device is how easy it is to use. The user friendly design allows for an accurate read with a push of a single button. It also is small and lightweight, making it easily portable.

3. Bushnell Michael Waddell Bone Collector Edition 4x 21mm Laser Rangefinder

For an authentic hunting experience, experts recommend this rugged rangefinder. Bushnell machines always carry a proud legacy, but this Collector’s Edition release is especially unique. The camouflage exterior lends itself to a gritty outdoor lifestyle. This tough appeal is not just for show, either; in fact, this boisterous device is meant to handle extreme environmental conditions. One of the special attributes of this model is its rainproof shell. The compact design also makes it extra portable.

This gadget simplifies the hunting experience more than any other machine. All functions have been condensed to a single-button operation. With a magnification versus objective lens ratio of 4X21mm, this viewer can spot anything between 10 and 600 yards. Accuracy is always within three feet.

The primary asset of this rangefinder comes in the form of advanced low light abilities. It is known to deliver unprecedented levels of bright crystalline optics in near darkness.

4. Carl Zeiss Optical Inc Victory 10X56 Rangefinder Binoculars

Sometimes, the standard rangefinder is simply not enough for the fiercest of hunters. These individuals need something a little more powerful in their artillery, and Carl Zeiss Optical Inc. has just the right equipment.

This model completely ditches the monocular design. They have the clearest image quality on the planet; their resolution specifications are literally unparalleled. The exterior shell is practically invincible. It is constructed to totally nullify recoil. When the reticule is illuminated, it can view distances of 1,300 yards. Because it requires both eyes, this gadget staves off potential parallax errors. These optical illusions occur when distant objects seem to be moving slower than closer ones. This visual confusion can throw off a hunter’s judgment, but it can be preemptively prevented with Victory!

On the other hand, they are a bit pricier than the regular rangefinders. Part of the cost is sheer aesthetic grandeur. The sleek matte black finish is luxurious and enticing. The bold appearance is accompanied by unbelievable functionality. With 56mm lenses, this machine employs a trademark coating to enhance light transmission during twilight use.

The Best Rangefinders for Archery

Archers use rangefinders to hone their accuracy while developing an understanding for environmental factors. To make every arrow count, look into one of the following machines:

1. Nikon 16228 ARROW ID 5000 Laser Rangefinder

Archery aficionados swear by this premiere rangefinder from Nikon. All measurements are very specific. The increments are given for every 0.1 yards or meters. The gadget comes with First Target Priority Mode. This is the main selling point, mainly because it can be used to aim onto really small objects. It is designed to read thin fence posts 100 yards away. The mapping interface also does not falter with close range distances down to 5 yards. The objective diameter is an ideal 21mm.

This machine is durably suited for tough conditions including fog and rain. The 89 degree angular range is truly impressive, and it enables straight shots up and down. An 18.3mm eye relief zone enshrines true comfort. The CR2 lithium battery promises reliable use for extended periods of time.

2. Bushnell G-Force 1300 ARC Laser Rangefinder

To launch arrows a greater distance than the usual hundred yards, archers flock to this notorious Bushnell creation. This is probably the most accurate design currently available in the field. It extends its reach up to 1,300 yards, and the precision is on the dot. The units are given for every 1/10 yards. For the nearest 475 feet, shots are guaranteed to land within 1/2 yard without human adjustments. Everything beyond that marker still promises a single yard range of accuracy.

The legendary 6x optics are brilliantly enlivened by Vivid Display Technology. This approach severely boosts clarity and contrast. Another specialized feature that has been built into this machine is Variable Sight-In (VSI).

There are three different modes available for the bow and arrow, and each one is sincerely advantageous. Bulls-Eye mode emphasizes sharpshooting, while Brush and Scan focus on panoramic aiming practices. Finally, the machine possesses a powerful protocol known as “Extreme. Speed. Precision.” This software is the most renowned rangefinder mainframe being offered to casual customers today.

This stylish piece of machinery can be further enhanced by a tripod, which can be linked into its factory-installed mounting chamber.

3. Simmons LRF 600 Laser Rangefinder

For archers that are just getting acquainted with the sport, it is impossible to go wrong with this Simmons model. It combines all of the basics at an astonishingly affordable price.

This release earns rave reviews non-stop, especially since this rangefinder brand has a name for swift precision. The magnification of 4x is more than enough for beginners. A tightly compacted vertical layout makes this gadget a breeze to bring anywhere.

With a capacity in between 5 and 600 yards, this bold device contains LCD visuals within the view itself. The optics are exceptionally bright and crystal clear, which is surprising for this price range. It is also housed with a superior casing that is resistant to harsh weather situations. Overall, this machine boasts accessibility and efficiency.

The Best Rangefinders for Bow Hunting

When archery is applied in the field, the stakes are raised even higher. A dependable rangefinder must be on-hand to guarantee a successful experience. This surveillance equipment instills safety through awareness, and it allows perfect opportunities for exact kills. Here are the most trustworthy tools for these rigorous hunters:

1. Bushnell 202442 “The Truth” ARC 4x20mm Bowhunting Laser Rangefinder with Clear Shot

Here’s a go-to rangefinder for bow hunters in the middle ground. This dashing device is equipped with all of the necessary accessories for a successful wilderness excursion. Bushnell’s equipment is especially useful for handling targets in motion, and it tracks distances between 7 and 850 yards. The powerful 4x zoom extends 199 yards, and it grants pure horizontal perspectives. This forceful machine is pocket-sized, and it is equipped with a comfortable anti-slip surface for tight gripping all the time.

It has a truly complete angle range that touches 90 degrees on both positive and negative ends of the scale. The Clear Shot interface gives immediate data on every shot before and after it is taken. The precise angle of each arrow is instantaneously provided.

This brand always makes the best carrying cases, and the one that comes with this model is no exception to the rule. It also comes with a handy neck strap for rapid access.

2. Bushnell G-Force DX ARC 6x 21mm Laser Rangefinder

For something a little more powerful than the previous entry, check out this upgrade, which is also from Bushnell. Angle displays are fully tackled by an automated inclinometer. The magnification reaches a whopping 6x, and MOA is fully integrated.

This release also contains Bulls-eye, Scan, and Brush, but all specifications are extra detailed. The exterior also boasts the benefit of being handsomely decorated with symmetrical layouts, anti-slip grips and an iconic logo. A lithium ion battery is included, so this product can be used immediately. It is economically savvy and ergonomically sound.

This specific model also conveniently includes a dual purpose interface that properly accommodates most guns.

3. Bushnell Elite 1600 Arc Rangefinder 7×26

Here is perhaps the most extraordinary tool bow hunters have available. Once again, this rangefinder ditches the monocular approach to enshrine more accuracy, focus and distance. These benevolent binoculars can detect activity up to 1,760 feet away.

The rangefinder itself is an Angle Range Compensation (ARC). This revolutionary piece is attached alongside a 96×48 Pixel Matrix Display. Aesthetics blend with functionality, and the PC-3 Phase Corrective Coating is dazzling on both counts. This machine also contains state of the art BaK-4 Prisms to instill total sharpness and crispness for images.

Because the conjoined reader retains a minimum of 80% light, it can be used in several dim environments. This light retention rate leads the entire rangefinder industry!

The Best Rangefinders for Golf

To pick the right golf club before every stroke, wise players must take several conditions into account. Luckily, a rangefinder can do most of the measuring work! Here are our top recommendations:

1. Bushnell Tour V4 Jolt Golf Laser Rangefinder

For a truly well-rounded golfing experience, it is hard to top the state-of-the-art equipment that is featured in this mainstay from Bushnell. This is the most popular tool of choice for golfers around the world. Its stylish contour is outfitted with a stellar 24mm objective alongside 5x magnification.

This device can precisely calculate ranges up to 1,000 yards, and its minimum distance is a mere 10 yards. With the combo of PinSeeker with Jolt, players can estimate flags within a single yard of accuracy up to a total of 300.

The laser is top-notch and completely safe. A sturdy carrying case is provided, and the 3-Volt battery is a standard inclusion. This design features an ergonomic structure that has one of the most stable grips available. A generous two year warranty is granted, and it is legal for official tournaments.

2. Leupold GX-3i Series Digital Rangefinder

If accuracy is your top concern, then check out Leupold’s signature rangefinder. With Prism Lock, it is possible to precisely locate any pin from a distance. Quickness is also a prominent feature of this brand. They often deliver measurements after the very first target return.

Anyone that plays golf in adverse environmental conditions will want to consider this rangefinder based on its trademark Fog Mode. This feature detects all vital surroundings regardless of environmental conditions or changes in topography.

This sleek device boasts refined technical specifications, and its interface is astonishingly accessible. The commands are all very intuitive; plus, it automatically beeps and freezes upon recognizing a properly outfitted flag stick. The grip is suited for intense conditions and the laser is truly beyond comparison. It comes housed in a fine bag that is complete with a protective strap.

3. TecTecTec! VPRO1 Rangefinder

For a dynamic approach to golfing, it is difficult to beat the simplified technology of TecTecTec!. Crystal clear imagery is a focal point of this gadget, and it is embedded with 6x magnification. Every shot will be within a one-yard accuracy zone up to 540 yards.

This tool can completely replace binoculars. Its optic system is a stand-out in today’s industry, especially since it showcases the most evolved digital circuit design currently possible. For golf amateurs, this may be the prime choice.

The key to this item’s innovative success lies in its three unique modes. The First Target Priority Mode simply measures distance in regards to the nearest object. Distant Target Priority does the opposite by seeking the farthest object. All of the essential visual data is streamlined immensely, and the view makes it possible to gauge exactly where all hazards are lurking with Scan Mode.

Once you have picked out a rangefinder to take with you on the golf course, check out this awesome tutorial on how to use it effectively:

The Best Rangefinders for the Money

On a financial scale, rangefinders can be costly. Luckily, their powers are available in several affordable variations. For the penny pinchers, this list of inexpensive devices will be invaluable:

1. Redfield 117862 Raider Rangefinder 600A

Here is a nifty device that is the perfect mix of functional and affordable. It looks prototypical, but it is actually capable of viewing up to 1,000 yards. It has a field of view that cuts off at 325ft, however, the viewing angle is limited to 6 degrees.

This is a laser intended for use primarily by hunters. It aims to capture mobility with refined accuracy. At a mere 5 ounces, it is also one of the lightest rangefinders in production. It is also outfitted with single-button mechanics for immediate comprehension and use. In terms of objective lens diameter, buyers can look forward to a respectable ratio of 23 mm / 0.91″.

On a side note, the cubic shape is exclusive to the Redfield line. These futuristic devices disguise themselves with retro appeal. Right now, it is going for only $185!

2. Leica Rangemaster CRF 1600-B 40534

So, how did a $700 rangefinder end up on this list of economically oriented selections? Well, it is because the value is still out of this world. With limitless potential in a 1,600 yard range, this model receives flawless reviews from every purchaser.

The plastic exterior is reinforced with an advanced carbon treatment to ingrain as well as an indestructible surface. The bold black finish is simultaneously suave and purposeful. It also comes with special lenses that received a rare AquaDura treatment. This product comes with several effective ballistic modes and it can be applied in endless fields.

If you are still not convinced, you may just have to check it out for yourself. Afterwards, there will be no turning back. These are the kind of clear optics for which you typically would have to spend thousands of dollars.

The Best Rangefinders for Under $200

Here are some more affordable rangefinders. These products condense all of the vital elements into a compact product that can be mass produced. The rangefinders listed here are suitable for curious hunters and first-timers.

1. Simmons LRF 600 Tilt Intelligence laser Rangefinder

For being sold at such a low price, this model is still a step up from the standard version. At just $123, this grand device flaunts intuitive Tilt Intelligence. This interface rapidly calculates True Horizontal Distance.

All modes of use can be simplified to one button. The carrying case is surprisingly slick for being an automatic add-on accessory. With 4x magnification and 600 yards of range, the LCD in-view picture is stunningly clear every time. It has the welcome bonus of being bright and weather-resistant.

While this model is ideal for golf, it can also be useful for archers and bow hunters. Those who need extra ballistic controls may need to look elsewhere.

2. SA Sports 7.26 Dragon Eyez 1500 Yard Rangefinder

This stellar Dragon Eyez release is currently being offered at $187. This price is unbelievable, especially considering the maximum range of 1,500 yards. Of course, this is with the implementation of an exclusive reflective surface, which can be subject to shutter speeds. Luckily, it also has an uninterruptible standard field of view that extends to an even 1,000 yards.

Rifle owners will fall in love with this mighty machine. Its astute measurements can be used to line up the perfect shot time and time again. Prize caribou will have no chance escaping the hunter that confidently utilizes this tool.

The 25mm lens is pretty big, and it comes with a fine cloth for long-term preservation. A lanyard and case are also provided for customer convenience. Finally, the LCD display is cutting-edge!

3. HALO XTRC 500-yd. Laser Range Finder

This $120 model is already affordable, but it comes with an additional rebate to make it doubly rewarding. The optics are fine-tuned for 6x magnification and the feedback system directly guides shot placement.

The current model is bold and gruff. It features nature imagery and a comfy grip. There are no complaints to be had about this manly version. It may seem somewhat run-of-the-mill, but the HALO rangefinder is a great starter pick.

The Best Rangefinders for Under $500

For a little more cash, you can get some serious bells and whistles. Here are some of the best rangefinders available within a more reasonable price limit:

1. Vortex Optics Ranger 1000 with Horizontal Component Distance Rangefinder RRF-101

This is one superb piece of technology right here! Vortex has crammed a ton of special amenities into this $380 model. It has a regal rubber exterior that protects from heavy impact while simultaneously allowing for a seriously unrelenting grip. Each one of the lenses is coated to enshrine anti-reflective powers, which leads to a wonderfully high level of brightness during use.

The O-ring instills one of the best moisture prevention methods possible. This tight seal completely combats all interference from dust and debris. It is also programmed to fully prevent moisture contamination. These machines are known to emphasize a streamlined diopter, which refers to the curvature of its interior mirroring. Thus, focus is crystal clear no matter the occasion.

2. Leupold RX-1000I W/DNA

A slightly updated variation of this Leupold was listed above in a different section, but its predecessor is a bit cheaper. Here’s another little secret too: not much has changed between the two models. Crafty consumers can pick the previous version for major savings. The “DNA” release is outfitted with an aluminum casing for pristine protection.

This one carries the same brilliant 1,000 yard range, OLED display and astonishing 1/10 yard precision. This product comes with three reticles for customized shooting experiences, and its magnification of 6x equates to a 4212.59″ field of viewing. Shooters can switch between Duplex and plus point, or they can simply combine the two approaches.

3. Nikon 8381 Laser Forestry Pro Rangefinder

This is the rangefinder that professionals demand! At just under $400, it factors in every possible measurement of distance. It can keep track of complex elements including vertical separation, horizontal distance, angulations, and elevation.

It has two distinct modes to toggle between priority detections. The striking yellow surface represents true industry savvy. The module contains three separate units and users can freely switch between yards, meters, and feet. In the end, this release trades extra calculations for a shorter overall range. The 6x magnification lends itself to an ample 999ft field.

History of Rangefinder Use

Rangefinder equipment for cameras originated in 1916. They were an exceedingly prevalent means of photography for several decades, but single lens reflex (SLR) cameras rendered them somewhat obsolete. Fortunately, the technology lingered on outside of the picture taking field.

Today, the rangefinder industry covers a lot of different ground. They are regularly used for land surveying purposes. Many navigation systems rely on them as well. Digital cameras still sometimes use rangefinder technology to instill proper focus for their images. The military is also presumed to use high-tech variations of this hardware, but this information is presently classified.

The Components of Conventional Rangefinders

Most modern rangefinders involve some variation of an electronically outfitted monocular. The techniques they use to estimate space can vary widely. Laser rangefinders are becoming increasingly prominent, but other approaches include ultrasonic, radar, and simple trigonometry.

Most of these machines are meant to be held, but they can be attached to tripods for maximum stability (similar to a spotting scope). Angular mounts can be applied to uncover exact measurements of elevation. Spherical coordinates may be precisely deduced as well; for the non-layman, a proper term for these rounded measurements is “azimuth.”

Lasers work by calculating the exact time of flight for each burst of light. Their mathematical determinations are rapid and exact! Meanwhile, radar applies pre-determined numerical figures for quick estimations. For the most accuracy, rangefinder connoisseurs stick with the traditional means of triangulation. With the mere power of sine, cosine, and tangent, this type of standard model can still trump all of its fancier competitors.

To convey useful data, a screen is usually mandated. These monitors can come in a variety of forms, but their most common incarnation is liquid crystal display (LCD). Lately, this high-tech inclusion has been structured into the viewing apparatus itself.

Why Rangefinders are Useful

These visual aids can be used to measure vast distances. The most advanced versions are equipped to detect distant objects. This prioritization over close objects commonly sets hunting rangefinders apart from their golfing counterparts.

These devices are equipped with ultra powerful lenses that can accurately capture an entire panorama at once. Sharpshooters often utilize these gadgets to figure out ideal ballistics before firing. This enshrines the zenith of accuracy for every shot. The same is true for archers and bow hunters. Basically, rangefinders are divine accessories for anyone who desires a fuller comprehension of their visual field.

Final Word

This list may be detailed and comprehensive, but it is by no means complete. The truth is that everybody should conduct their own research to ensure that their rangefinder needs are met. Hopefully, this guide is able to help you make a decision in regards to your next rangefinder purchase!

Holiday Gift Ideas for Rangefinders 2017

Rangefinders are sort of the unspoken hero of outdoor activities and are as simple as their name suggests. However, we all want to ensure that we are getting the most accurate range possible. None of us want to acquire the range only to miss our shot by a mile when it comes time to golf or hunt.

These tools are especially useful if you’re on your own and don’t have another person with a spotting scope or extra set of binos to help you place your shots. They’ve made hunting and sporting much more accessible and attainable for the solo outdoorsman/woman. Click here to see our picks for the top rangefinders of 2017.

This holiday season, look to purchase a rangefinder for the outdoor enthusiast to drastically improve his or her chances of success. Rangefinders are almost universally handheld and easy to use, the major differences being how some of them acquire the range of their targets. If you don’t see a rangefinder here that you like, check out the general listing page for a complete list of best-selling rangefinders.

 

Best Rangefinder for Hunting

Nikon 8397 Aculon Laser Rangefinder

  • With a range of up to 550 yards, the Aculon utilizes a powerful laser to acquire range and can be yours for a pretty affordable price.

 

Best Rangefinder for Archery

Nikon 16228 ARROW ID 5000 Laser Rangefinder

  • The ARROW ID 5000’s maximum range is about 600 yards and even compensates for upward or downward shooting angles. This will be handy when hunting for game that are above or below you.

 

Best Rangefinder for Bow Hunting

Bushnell 202442 “The Truth” ARC 4x20mm Bowhunting Laser Rangefinder with Clear Shot

  • We can’t imagine you’ll be bow hunting from nearly 800 yards away, but that’s the Truth’s approximate maximum range. For bow hunters in particular, the Truth will help you determine if an animal is worth shooting so you can make sure every shot counts.

 

Best Rangefinder for Golf

Bushnell Tour V4 Jolt Golf Laser Rangefinder

  • The Jolt has one of the largest ranges of rangefinders on our list and for good reason. This rangefinder has the ability to zoom and is certified by the professional golf leagues, so you can rest assured the Jolt is a top quality tool.

 

Best Rangefinder under $200

Simmons LRF 600 Tilt Intelligence Laser Rangefinder

  • The Tilt is a simple rangefinder with only one button to simply the laser acquisition process. With a maximum range of around 600 yards, you’ll have no problem viewing and acquiring long distance targets.

 

Best Rangefinder under $500

Vortex Optics Ranger 1000 with Horizontal Component Distance Rangefinder RRF-101

  • The Ranger is a formidable rangefinder and truly built for the outdoors. It’s completely sealed so its okay to drop in water. The exterior is surrounding in rubber so if you drop it on any surface it’ll hold up better than most rangefinders.

 

Do Rangefinders Make Great Gifts?

Rangefinders aren’t the most common thing you’ll find in a stocking or under a tree but they’ll be a surprise on any holiday. Think of them as the last tool that will complete the set of gear a sportsman or hunter takes on his or her excursion.

Some backpacks and bino chest straps come with specialized straps to wrap around a rangefinder and keep it secure. So there’s little need for rangefinder accessories save for spare batteries.

Nikon 8397 Aculon Laser Rangefinder: Expert Review

Nikon Aculon Best Selling Rangefinder

The Nikon Aculon is one of the best selling rangefinders out there, and we highly recommend it. Click the image to learn more.

Nikon is a trusted brand that is well-known for offering quality products. High prices are also associated with this brand. That is why the affordability of the Nikon 8397 Aculon Laser Rangefinder may come as a surprise to some. Priced at less than $200, this compact device is equipped with all of the necessary features and is designed with the consumer’s ease of use in mind. It boasts multilayer coatings that enhance light transmittance, while offering maximum portability and precision. Yes, this unit is competitively priced and well-designed, but how does it stack up against other rangefinders on the market? Below, you will find a more in depth break down of this product. Use this information when determining which rangefinder best suits your needs.

Design

The Nikon 8397 Aculon is one of the most compact laser rangefinders on the market, and rivals many smartphones in its portability. It is less bulky than its popular competitors. In fact, it is so compact that a very steady hand may be needed to adequately stabilize the unit when ranging small objects. This lightweight device weighs only 4.4 ounces without batteries, and fits easily into a pocket or worn comfortably around the neck. Its design makes it easy to hold in the palm of your hand. The housing is solid and has a tactile feel. It can be easily gripped even in wet or humid conditions when your palms may be moist. Although this rangefinder is water resistant, it is not completely waterproof and should not be submerged in water.

The Nikon 8397 features an easy-to-read LCD display that shows distance in 1-yard/meter intervals with the push of a single button. The buttons are large and very accessible. There is enough space between the buttons to allow for easy use even when wearing thick gloves, which is ideal for winter time use.

The Nikon 8397 is powered by a single CR2 battery. It automatically powers down after eight consecutive seconds of the laser being inactive. The battery life is clearly displayed and the battery compartment is easy to open when a battery change is necessary.
This unit’s eyepiece was designed with comfort in mind. Also, people wearing glasses can still enjoy a full field of view.

Although this device is very compact and priced significantly less than many of its competitors, it is a sturdy device that does not feel cheaply made.

Features and Use

The Nikon 8397 allows for instantaneous measurement, or a continuous stream of measurements while scanning an area for up to 20 seconds. Advanced features like slope and distance compensation are not included in this rangefinder. However, it does have a measurement range of 6 to 550 yards, 6x magnification of the target, crosshairs, and high quality optics. It provides a clear, natural view and ranges with rapid accuracy. Low levels of light could make the readings harder to see. Also, brighter or lighter targets tend to get a more accurate read.

This rangefinder features Distant Target Priority Mode that displays the range of the farthest target when aimed at a group of targets. This feature is good for returning an accurate reading for targets that may be blocked by grass or other vegetation. Users have reported varying distance capabilities. Some said this device’s upper limit ranging maxes out at about 300 yards, while others claim it can go far beyond that.

Pros

  • Affordability; offers great value for the price
  • Easy to operate and very user-friendly
  • Designed to be compact and lightweight, which makes it easily portable
  • It offers a high degree of accuracy and prioritizes distant targets
  • It has high quality optics with multi-layer coatings
  • A clear display that shows distance in meters and yards
  • Clearly displays remaining battery life and has an easily accessible battery compartment
  • Device powers down automatically when unused for a certain amount of time in order to preserve battery life
  • Easy to grip and securely hold in one hand
  • It is water resistant with durable casing

Cons

  • It lacks advanced features like slope or distance compensation
  • Not fully waterproof
  • Uses expensive CR2 batteries
  • Can be difficult to range small targets (like golf flags); a steady hand is needed to do so
  • Readings can be hard to see in low light levels

Conclusion

Nikon is known for offering quality products and the Nikon 8397 Aculon Rangefinder is no exception. It performs as advertised. This compact device is easy to tote around and provides users a high degree of accurate ranging. It lacks some advanced features, but is well-made, easy to use, and offers great value for your money. That is why it is one of our most highly recommended rangefinders. It is a solid performer when used on static or moving targets. The user enjoys instantaneous readings that are quickly rendered. Whether this device is used for hunting, golf, target shooting, or any other general purpose, both novice and experienced users could benefit from this high quality rangefinder.

Finding the Distance: How do Rangefinders Work?

Laser rangefinders are devices that are used to measure the distance of an object from the user. Along with radar and sonar, laser rangefinders are a type of active rangefinder. They are used by hunters, sportsmen, surveyors, soldiers, and many others.

Laser rangefinders produce a beam of photons directed toward an object. The beam is reflected off the object back towards its source, and the rangefinder measures the time it took for the beam to make its journey. Based on the elapsed time and the speed of the beam, the device calculates the distance to the object. This method of distance calculation is based on the “time of flight” principle. In a similar fashion, radar rangefinders use radio waves in place of laser beams, and sonar devices generate sound waves for the same purpose.

Because a laser beam travels very quickly, the amount of time that is required for the beam to return to its source is very small. This makes it extremely difficult to measure, and so laser rangefinders are somewhat limited in their precision of measurement. Still, the least accurate of these devices can accurately calculate distances within about a meter, while the most sophisticated can be trusted to be accurate within a few millimeters.

While the speed of the light beam might be seen as a detriment, it also offers a distinct advantage. A slow-traveling signal such as that provided by radar and sonar is not very good at measuring moving objects, because by the time the signal has returned to the observer, the object will have moved. This problem is compounded by longer distances; and when the direction of the target’s movement is straight toward (or away from) the rangefinder. Since light travels many times faster than radio waves or sound waves, the laser rangefinder is the most responsive active rangefinder for supplying real-time data on a fast-moving object.

The effects of beam scatter, along with atmospheric distortion and interference, can cause variations in the length of time required for even sequential pulses to return to the sending unit. In order to minimize the effects of these errant signals, most laser rangefinders use the average travel time of a series of pulses to improve their accuracy.

The use of sequential laser pulses also lends itself to the coding of the pulses as a way to minimize attempts to jam the device. The efficiency of the pulse is also a critical factor in the rangefinder’s accuracy: more sophisticated systems respond very rapidly to fast input signals, due to a comparatively low pulse rise or fall rate.

An older method of calculating distance, known as triangulation, can be used to simultaneously improve the accuracy of the device and maximize its ability to measure the speed of the target. In order to apply the principles of trigonometry to the process, the rangefinder must establish 3 points of reference instead of two. The first 2 points are established by the device, and can be either dual lasers or dual receivers. Adding the target as a third point, a triangle can be formed. An imaginary line segment, running from the target to the center of the rangefinder, divides the triangle into 2 right triangles, which can be used to mathematically determine the exact distance to the object. When there is a change in the length of time required for each signal to return, the device can calculate the direction of the target’s travel, as well as its speed in relation to the rangefinder.

When a laser beam travels, it is unaffected by the gravity of the earth and its corresponding effect on the inertia of the beam. This makes the measurement impervious to changes in elevation between the target and the device. However, this is not the way that bullets and arrows travel, so rangefinders designed for hunters must also take into account the effects of gravity on the trajectory of the projectile.

When a hunter is positioned above his target, the trajectory of his bullet will be quite different than when he is below his target, and a good hunting rangefinder will compensate for this difference by incorporating an inclinometer and ballistic calculator. The inclinometer provides the ballistic calculator with the required upward or downward angle of the target, and the calculator will then estimate the projectile’s trajectory based on the weapon being used. Some of the best laser rangefinders also incorporate temperature, elevation and barometric pressure into their ballistics calculations.

Because the light from a laser is of a different wavelength than that from ambient light sources, the likelihood of a rangefinder mistakenly identifying natural light instead of the laser light is relatively small. The receiving photodiode is typically filtered to accept only the pulses generated by the device itself.

A common misconception about laser rangefinders is that they will not work as well when the target is at an angle to the light source, but in fact, this is usually not the case. Most of the surfaces present in nature diffuse light very effectively, and provide multitudes of random reflections as a result of the diffusion. The full moon is a perfect example of this, as it appears uniformly bright from the center to the outer edge, more like a flat disk than a sphere. This occurs despite the fact that the light reflected from the outer edge is at a much greater angle to the light source than the center. Smooth, highly reflective surfaces do not diffuse as much light, but these are very rare in most cases when a laser rangefinder would be used. Additionally, the sensitivity of the device is such that very little light is actually needed to tickle the receiver.

The most powerful versions of portable laser rangefinders, such as those in use by the military, are capable of detecting objects at a range of about 10 miles, but most commercially available units are good for between 500 and 1500 yards, which is probably farther than most users would ever need.

Most laser rangefinders are equipped with optical lenses to allow the user to target more effectively, particularly over long distances. These optical subsystems are very similar to a pair of binoculars, and may provide varying degrees of magnification. Some golf rangefinders employ a system that is designed to detect only the nearest object, ignoring anything in the background. By doing this, it is much easier for the golfer to range the flag.

Laser rangefinders typically display their information through an LCD or OLCD screen, much like digital cameras and cell phones. The information displayed may include the target’s distance, speed, degree of inclination, and more. If the rangefinder is equipped with a compass, azimuth information will also be displayed. Rangefinders designed for a specific purpose, such as hunting or golfing, will display any information that is specific to the activity.

Commercially available laser rangefinders sold in the United States are subject to the approval of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Because of the potential for eye injury, the lasers used must be considered “eye-safe,” meaning that the beam has to be invisible to the naked human eye, and it must be incapable of causing eye damage. Laser products meeting these requirements are assigned an FDA “Class 1” designation.

Bushnell Michael Waddell Bone Collector Edition 4x 21mm Review

The Bushnell Michael Waddell Bone Collector Edition 4x 21mm Laser Rangefinder is designed for hunters. It doesn’t matter if you’re a gun or bow hunter, if you enjoy spending time in the great outdoors, this rangefinder is for you. It doesn’t feature a lot of bells and whistles, but it’s a sturdy piece of equipment that can’t be beat for accuracy when it comes to measuring distance.

The Bushnell Design

The Bushnell MWBCE is an impressive looking piece of gear. It’s surprisingly light weight, coming in at less than 10 ounces, but don’t let the lightness of it fool you. This is a solid, well-made rangefinder. It comes with a carrying case, but because it’s so compact it can be slipped into a pants pocket when not being used.

Rangefinders can be purchased in a variety of colors, but bright colors aren’t useful in the bush. The Bushnell MWBCE comes in Realtree Xtra Camo which is the perfect design for all kinds of environments. The rangefinder’s outer casing is waterproof, so it remains dependable in wet weather conditions. But keep in mind it cannot be fully submerged in water.

This laser rangefinder is vertically mounted and requires only one hand for easy operation. It features an autofocus and measures target distance with just one tap of a button located directly under the index finger. The Bushnell runs on 9-volt batteries, but you won’t need many replacements as one battery provides thousands of readings. The battery can be tricky to remove – you’ll need a small screwdriver – which means it won’t fall out but may be a hassle to change in the field.

Elements of the Bushnell

The field of view on the Bushnell is 320 feet at 1,000 yards. The eye relief is set at a relaxed 20 mm. The Bushnell’s range is 10 to 600 yards with accuracy to +/- one yard. You’ll get correct readings for up to 200 yards when sighting anything about the size of a deer. For items larger than that use 400, but save 600 for the very largest and most reflective objects. The Bushnell also features 4X magnification. Its images are perfectly crisp and clean and you have the option of measuring in yards or meters. The LCD illuminates the display for easy reading in low light although the brightness cannot be adjusted. The display features include the low battery indicator, measuring unit in use and target hold.

Pros

  • Lightweight, this makes the Bushnell easy to use in the field
  • Compact, comes with a carrying case, but fits in a pocket
  • The Realtree Xtra Camo design lets the rangefinder blend into any setting
  • Durable, well-made piece of equipment
  • Rainproof casing can be used in wet weather (don’t submerge)
  • Operates easily with only one hand
  • Can measure in meters or yards
  • Exceptionally accurate
  • Superior imaging that can be used in low light
  • 4 X magnification
  • LCD allows for easy readings
  • One battery provides thousands of readings
  • One-year limited warranty

Cons

  • The 9-volt battery may be difficult to change in the field
  • You must turn off the rangefinder to switch between yards and meters
  • This rangefinder does not measure angles

Conclusion

If you want a rangefinder from a trusted brand, Bushnell won’t disappoint. Although this model doesn’t offer the gadgets of some other top tier models, its price corresponds to the features it does provide. Anyone looking for an easy-to-use, top quality rangefinder will be satisfied with the Bushnell Michael Waddell Bone Collector Edition.

Carl Zeiss Victory 10X56 Rangefinder Binoculars Review

The Carl Zeiss Optical Inc Victory 10X56 Rangefinder Binoculars are like no other! I could not believe the clarity I was seeing with when I first tried them out after getting them. The brightness of the view through the lenses was like I was looking with my own two eyes, just magnified and crisper!

A Clear Shot

carl zeiss victory rangefinder binocularsThese binoculars are made with premium optics, and the images I saw were as clear as day, if not clearer! Due to the fluoride and special, multi-layer glass, it was not even hard to see my targets right before it was completely dark outside. There is a coating on the lenses, LotuTec®, that allows the images to be so vivid and superior. There is no way that I can blame missing a shot on not being able to see it clearly again.

Measured Up

One of the features that I was absolutely ecstatic over was the laser technology that is used in these binoculars. I have never used a pair of binoculars that had this type of technology before. The laser rangefinder (as I found out it is called), enables me to measure up distance so easily and quickly. The laser takes out all of the guess work that I was so unsure about before.

Again, this is another reason these binoculars are superior to any other I have ever used; the laser lets you see more efficiently when the lighting is something to be desired. Sometimes when I am out in the field or the woods, there are real small targets, like squirrels and rabbits for example, that can be so hard to shoot at. These binoculars help me to aim correctly.

When Things Get Unsteady

I have to make mention of the unwavering steadiness of this product. The laser is so accurate, that even in the most unsteady or shaky of conditions, I am able to keep a steady aim. I remember before these binoculars, it would be such a task to hold my stone age, no bells and whistles binoculars, and try to get a good shot. With the reliable laser system in these though, I am able to have a more accurate shot every time.

When I go to the mountains and go hunting, the rocks can sometimes prove to be a bit of a problem for me. When I think I have a good shot, I often find myself precariously placed on top of one rock or another. Of course these rocks are not stable, so I sometimes shift in position. That is a real good example of what I mean about how the laser stays steady, even through unsteady times.

Built Strong

I would be the first one to say that I just do not know how to “play nice” with my belongings. I am the first one to drop something, or to mistakenly smash it into the wall or some other surface. These binoculars have unfortunately taken a fall down to the ground more times than I would be willing to say. Every time they fall, I think to myself that I am going to have to be off to buy another pair. That is not the case though, they are resilient!

Another factor I am thoroughly pleased and quite impressed with, is the ease of cleaning the actual lenses. It must have something to do with that special coating I read about that is put on the lenses. They are a dream to simply wipe off dirt and water or smudges with just a soft cloth and some water.

I would enthusiastically recommend these binoculars!

Nikon Archer’s Choice Rangefinder Review

The Nikon Archer’s Choice Laser Rangefinder is a high tech rangefinder made for bows. The rangefinder boasts many impressive features including compensation for inclines and declines, 89 degree angular range, and a close ranging distance of within five yards. Additionally, the rangefinder is advertised as both waterproof and fog-proof, making it ideal for bow hunters who shoot in nearly all weather conditions. Overall, the rangefinder lives up to its claims, and gives hunters a high tech option for improving depth perception during a hunt, with just a few areas that could be improved.

The is very easy to use and fast to use, so you can get in shots even when you don’t have much time. The rangefinder also performs very quietly, making it a great choice for hunters. The compact size of the Archer’s Choice makes it very easy to carry when you’re walking a long distance. Its smaller size also makes it manageable, especially when you are in a confined space.

The rangefinder is incredibly accurate and is able to give a reading in just a few seconds. After shooting against measured distances, its distance reading was right on every time. Perhaps the best performance feature of the rangefinder is that it maintains accuracy even as targets are on the move, although you need to make sure to keep the button pressed while following the target. Even in the rain, it maintained an accurate reading of distance.

The rangefinder can be used while wearing glasses, and it is easy to use even if you’re visually impaired. It does perform as both waterproof and fog-proof and worked perfectly when used in cold, rainy conditions. Optics on this Nikon are impressive, although the field of view could be slightly larger. It would also be nice if this product could also be used with a rifle, but given its performance for bow hunting and shooting, it is a high quality product with little room for improvement of its performance features.

The Archer’s Choice is built with very sturdy construction and also comes with a camouflage carrying case for added protection when you’re on the move. The carrying case is comfortable to carry even when walking long distances and provides good protection for the rangefinder. One of the reasons I was drawn to this rangefinder in the first place was the endorsement it got on Supreme Finds, which toted its abilities to withstand tough conditions.

The display on the rangefinder is black on grey. Although the display performs adequately in most conditions, it is somewhat hard to see it in low light conditions. It would work better if the display were another color, but in most conditions it performs acceptably.

Some possible shortcomings of this rangefinder are the fact that the protective cover for the front lens is only secured with one snap, making it possible that the cover could easily come loose and get lost. It is easy to bump the cover while moving around and cause it to fall off. You must pay close attention to make sure you don’t lose the piece. The rangefinder also seems to become less accurate when tracking small objects, but given the fact that most bow hunters won’t be shooting very small game, this is probably a small issue.

It is not inexpensive, but overall the price is worth it since it is so effective and accurate. The Archer’s Choice would be especially useful for those with vision or depth perception problems, given its accuracy in reading distances. It is also great for those who hunt in wet or foggy conditions, as it performs well even in extreme weather conditions. The rangefinder is a great choice if you’re looking for a quality, compact rangefinder.

Tech Review: Bushnell G-Force DX ARC 6x 21mm Laser Rangefinder

A trusted name in optics, Bushnell’s G-Force DX ARC Laser Rangefinder combines ease of use with cutting-edge performance. This rangefinder is perfect for the experienced user, offering precision and clarity in a range of conditions. The G-Force DX ARC Laser Rangefinder is also good for the new user, boasting intuitive controls and quick response time.

Features

g-force dx arcThe G-Force DX ARC is built to last. Bushnell equips the rangefinder with a metal housing that holds up in rugged conditions. The rangefinder comes with rubber grips that provide comfort and slip-resistant handling in wet and cold conditions. Powered by a 3V lithium battery and weighing less than 8 ounces, the G-Force is light and easy to hold for long periods of time. It is also fits easily into a pocket. With one-button operation and targeting, the G-Force is a cinch to use. With 6x optics, Vivid Display Technology, and an effective 5-1300 yard range, this rangefinder is clear and accurate. The V.D.T. yields peerless image clarity and great image contrast. With several light intensity settings, users can adjust the rangefinder to fit all outdoor lighting conditions.

Pros

Bushnell’s second-generation E.S.P. technology makes the G-Force DX ARC quick and accurate. Shooters will find accurate ranging within a few feet. The response time between sighting and ranging is fast. With an integrated inclinometer and settings for both bow and rifle hunting, the G-Force provides precise readings for a variety of users. Bow hunters will find accurate horizontal distances, while rifle hunters will be able to use bullet-drop readings to maximize shot accuracy. With the tripod mount, Bushnell affords shooters stability over long outings.

Cons

Although the G-Force DX ARC allows users to adjust the intensity of its display, the red readout can be difficult to see in certain conditions. The single-button operation is effortless; however, the button that operates the rangefinder is also selects the finder’s various modes and can be easy to bump. Finally, the $400 price tag may be a bit steep for some users.

Best Feature

This excellent rangefinder offers a wide array of shooting modes and angle range compensation. Angle range compensation allows for shot correction on the rangefinder itself. Rifle and Bow Modes help shooters scope accurate horizontal distances and account for bullet-drop and lag time. Brush Mode lets shooters to ignore foreground objects in order to range accurate background objects, and Bulls-Eye Mode offers the opposite experience. Shooters can range small foreground objects with precision and ease.

Worst Feature

Reviews suggest that red display on the G-Force DX ARC is the rangefinders biggest drawback. A black display would be easier to adjust and to read in a wide array of conditions. However, the overall performance of the G-Force DX ARC is strong enough that many users will be able to overlook this issue.

Most Unexpected Feature

This rangefinder is fully waterproof. The lens is coated in a water-repellant coating. Rain Guard HD makes the lens resist both water and fog as well as humidity-induced or early-morning condensation. Clarity and visibility are never compromised.

In Summary

Bushnell makes quality rangefinders, and the G-Force DX ARC is in a class by itself. With superior accuracy and image clarity, this range finder is easy enough for a novice shooter to use while still providing the cutting-edge technology and precision that experienced shooters demand. Durable and accurate in any condition, the G-Force DX ARC is costly. However, the performance of the G-Force more than compensates for its price. The G-Force DX ARC may be the only rangefinder a shooter ever needs.

Rangefinder Review: Simmons 4×20 LRF 600

simmons lrf 600There are several factors that account for excellent spotting and range finding. Accurate distance, readings, and clarity are all important and essentially non-negotiable for high-quality finders. The Simmons 4×20 LRF 600 Rangefinder is able to deliver on all fronts while fitting comfortable in one hand.

Featuring an LCD display with a clear read, the Simmons 4×20 LRF 600 Rangefinder provides distance that is exact within a yard between a range of 10-600 yards. The rangefinder also boasts 4x magnification and sharp optics that give the user a clear and crisp picture. The visual makes it feel like there is no distance between the user and the target while bringing subtle details into focus, and all on a 9-volt battery power supply with the push of a button. Superb clarity and instantly accurate distance are only two of the rangefinder’s best qualities.

While it’s crucial that a rangefinder be accurate and clear, it must also have functional utility. A star-gazing telescope can provide great magnification, but would be extremely cumbersome to carry and set up during excursions. The Simmons 4×20 LRF 600 Rangefinder is a great adventure companion at under 10 ounces and less than 6 inches at its longest. It’s compact size makes it easy to take anywhere, and since it fits in your hand it is always ready for use. Harsh conditions were kept in mind when building this rangefinder as it is designed with a durable, water-resistant housing that stands up to nature’s hazards. Rounding out the list of impressive features is the affordable price which is marked below $150.

The Simmons 4×20 LRF 600 is a great rangefinder, but it does have its limitations. The visual quality is impressive, but in distance intervals. It’s suggested that spotting wildlife such as deer is best around 200 yards while the 600 yard capability is for looking at reflective objects, like the roof of a car. For trees and shrubbery, the effective range is around 400 yards.* There also isn’t any protection for glare or fog which can make viewing difficult while in adverse conditions. As with any rangefinder, finding the distance for the correct object can sometimes be tricky. Although very accurate, this rangefinder can sometimes give the distance to something that is between the user and the intended target. This can be frustrating, but it may have more to do with human error than performance shortcomings.

For what you pay for, this rangefinder is great. A lot of its strength comes from its simplicity. It doesn’t accommodate a lot of peripheral features, but that allows for the ones it does have to truly shine. The one button design streamlines the range-finding process and provides a simple, easy-to-read display. The optics are clear and the picture is poignant which makes this rangefinder great for viewing as a secondary focus. The price purchases a lot of quality for relatively little investment and allows the user to better understand what his needs are. Perhaps the best feature of the Simmons 4×20 LRF Rangefinder is the compact size and weight. It’s easy to carry and maneuver, and the durability means that it doesn’t have to be neatly packed away in the carrying case at all times.

On the course or in a tree stand, this rangefinder is very reliable. It takes the guessing out of the equation and replaces it with quick and accurate information, which can make all the difference during that big hunt. There are other rangefinders with more features, but they also come with much price tags. With this Simmons rangefinder, it’s as easy as point and click.

Bushnell’s The Truth 4×20 Laser Rangefinder User Review

Bushnell’s The Truth 4×20 Laser Rangefinder is proof that good things come in small packages. Weighing in at only 6 ounces, this pocket sized black beauty offers precision range measurements for the serious bowhunter.

Take Your Best Shot

Part of the Team Primos’ “The Truth” series of endorsed hunting equipment, this range finder uses ARC (Angle Range Compensation) technology which has the ability to compensate distances based on the angle you’re shooting from. With the push of one button, The Truth 4×20 Laser Rangefinder compensates angle and calculates distance, allowing you to precisely determine what sight pin to use for the perfect aim, at ranges of 7-199 yards away. If this level of precision wasn’t impressive enough, add to it that the ARC technology doesn’t appear to impede the device’s scanning and calculation time. In fact, at ranges of up to 850 yards, it delivers the same speed and precision as devices that provide more simplified line of sight readings.

Specifics

In addition to measurements that are lightning fast and the ability to toggle between Bow and Rifle Modes, The Truth 4×20 Laser Rangefinder features 4x magnification capabilities–when set in Bow Mode–while maintaining crystal clear imagery. It calculates within the ranges of 7-850 yards, with angle ranges of -90 degrees to +90 degrees.

Hunters are sure to appreciate the compact, pocket size, of this rangefinder. It’s ergonomic design and anti-slip, sure-grip finish make it easy to grab in a hurry and fumble free while positioning and aiming and it’s rainproof to offer protection from the most commonly experienced hunting season weather conditions.

The Truth 4×20 Laser Rangefinder is designed to avoid some of the common frustrations of using and caring for electronics. It features a battery life indicator avoids the frustration of discovering that your battery is dead at the absolute worst time. It also has a Posi-Thread battery door and is also compatible with Bushnell’s magnetic attachment system which uses a tripod attachment to allow your device to be affixed to your belt, backpack strap or other harnesses in order to protect it from loss and to make it easily and quickly accessible. The Truth 4×20 Laser Rangefinder comes with a sturdy carrying case and neck strap, and a battery so that you are able to use your rangefinder the moment you open the package.

Value For Your Buck

With pricing between $150-$320, this rangefinder is competitively priced with others in a similar class. A review would be amiss to claim that the device is perfect. Some users have reported issues with slow rangefinding readings. The biggest issue experienced seems to be related to the Posi-Thread battery door. More than a few users have reported having issues with the door coming open repeatedly for no apparent reason. Feedback to Bushnell are perceived to have gone unanswered and the issue unresolved. Bushnell uses a similar battery door system for other rangefinding devices who reportedly are sharing similar issues. Hopefully, their development teams are hearing their customers and working on long-term solutions.

Overall, the features and benefits of this small but power packed device seem to outweigh any negatives; which is likely why the The Truth 4×20 Laser Rangefinder consistently receives 4.5-5 Star overall customer ratings.

Precision in hunting is critical for several reasons. It benefits the hunter by enabling accurate aim, resulting in a clean successful shot. This avoids unfilled tags, especially in draw only areas that are often hard to come by. Precision also helps hunters to avoid situations that fuel hunting controversy with regard to mis-shots that leave animals wounded. An investment in a device that increases the chances of a successful hunt while demonstrating good hunting ethics provides a great return. This Bushnell is a great example of such an investment.