If you’re a long-range shooter or a bowhunter, you know how important accurate ranging is to the success of your hunt. If you spend a lot of time up in a tree stand or hunting in high country, calculating an accurate shot angle can be pretty difficult. With a rangefinder, finding true distance and shot precision is much easier.
Concerned about the cost and weight of another piece of equipment to your already-heavy load? Don’t be. Most rangefinders are small and light—and some can even take the place of your binos.
So, if you’re looking for a good rangefinder for yourself or your favorite hunting buddy, check out Vortex Optics’s Ranger line.
Vortex’s old line of Ranger rangefinders was enormously popular, but they’ve done a great job improving the product.
The Ranger rangefinders come in four options: 1000, 1300, 1500, 1800. As the names suggest, each option is capable of ranging up to that particular number of yardage to reflective material. To a deer, you can expect about half. (Read our full review of the 1000 here)
Each option includes 6X magnification, 17mm of eye relief, and a 22mm objective lens. With these rangefinders, you’ll get 315ft/1000yd linear FOV and 6 degrees of angular FOV. The Ranger rangefinders also boast an accuracy within -/+ 3 yards at 1,000 yards and a max angle reading of +/- 60 degrees.
Prefer to range in meters or yards? It doesn’t matter. The Ranger rangefinders can be set to either setting.
The Ranger rangefinders will also handle cold and hot temps You can expect it to work between 14 and 131 degrees F.
With excellent glass quality, the Ranger rangefinder provides multi-coated lenses for optimal light transmission. You’ll also get an adjustable diopter that’s easy to use. You count on a precise picture that stands up against even the most expensive rangefinders.
This rangefinder has great low-light capabilities. So, if you’re out while the sun is setting or rising, you’ll be able to get a reading if you’re not too far away.
Although the body of the Ranger rangefinders is plastic, it’s coated with rubber. The rubber coating feels secure and non-slippery. It’s also serves as great protection for the rangefinder itself. You can feel confident the Ranger rangefinder will survive pretty much anything that happens to it.
The entire thing is waterproof and protected from internal fog. It’s also O-ring sealed, so the operating system will continue to have your back, even in tough conditions.
Each model is threaded for a tripod and comes with a high-quality carrying case for protection and longevity.
These rangefinders require a lithium CR2 battery. However, there is a battery included in the box. The battery cover is sealed and can be opened with a coin.
The Ranger rangefinders are compact, lightweight, and have a great, ergonomic hand feel. These rangefinders are 3 inches wide, 3.9 inches long, and only weigh 7.7 ounces. None of the models would be a bother to carry around for days at a time.
One really neat feature of the Ranger rangefinders is the adjustable utility clip on the side. The side clip is adjustable and can be mounted on either side or removed completely. Clip it to your pocket, belt, or to your pack for ultra-easy access as soon as you need it.
Ranger rangefinders also come with a lanyard if you prefer to carry around your neck. However you like to take the Ranger with you, it’ll be easy to bring.
Features and usability
The Ranger is easy to use with a quality, intuitive display.
The button closest to your eye is the “measure” button. Press it once to turn on and a second time to measure. That’s it.
The button further away from your eye is the “menu” button. There are three changeable settings. One is the brightness, which is really helpful in low-light conditions. The other settings change the measure between LOS and HCD modes.
The Line of Sight Distance (LOS) provides the straight-line distance to the target. It will also provide the angle.
In Horizontal Component Distance (HCD) mode, the Ranger will measure the distance and the angle and do the math to provide the most accurate yardage for your shot. If you spend a lot of time hunting in elevation or in tree stands, this setting can be enormously helpful.
By holding down the “measure” button, the Vortex Ranger will also “scan.” This scan feature provides continuous readings across a landscape or can track a moving target.
One thing to note about this rangefinder is that it won’t pick up objects under 10 yards.
Vortex VIP warranty
Another great feature of this Ranger rangefinder is that it comes with a lifetime warranty. If something were to happen to it and the optics get fuzzy, Vortex will take care of it—for as long as you have the product.
One of the top-selling rangefinders for hunting is the TecTecTec ProWild. TecTecTec is one of the newer names in optics and currently they focus only on (budget-friendly) rangefinders for hunting and golf. For hunting, in addition to the ProWild, the brand also offers the ProWild 2 and ProWild S.
Overview of the ProWild
The ProWild is appealing in particular because of its reasonable price. At under $100, the ProWild is a solid yet inexpensive rangefinder that measures up to 540 yards with +/- 1 accuracy.
It’s weather-resistant and lightweight, weighing in at 6.5 ounces. While the display is easy to read, it isn’t illuminated. Using it is very simple, with a two button design that lets you measure speed or distance.
The glass is good for the price — 6x magnification and multilayer coating. The device dimensions are 4″ x 2.8″ x 1.6″.
Overall the ProWild is a decent wallet-friendly option if you’re in the market for a rangefinder. Reviews from buyers and pros are mostly positive, with some reports of defective units out of the box or at the year mark (TecTecTec does have a 2-year warranty on the ProWild). Some hunters have run into issues with reading accuracy, but this should fall under warranty.
The original ProWild is a good starter or even a worthwhile option for hunters who don’t want to spend much on a rangefinder. However, there are two other models in this line that might be worth your attention. Let’s look at those next.
ProWild vs. ProWild S
The ProWild S is the next step up from the ProWild and is about $30 more. The ProWild S has the same basic setup as the ProWild — including max range, glass, and continuous scan mode — but it also has angle compensation which provides both actual distance and true ballistic distance for higher accuracy.
The S looks nearly identical to the original ProWild and features the same weather- and dust-resistant build and quality glass. Early reviewers have found this to be lightweight and accurate.
ProWild vs. ProWild 2
The final rangefinder in TecTecTec’s hunting rangefinder lineup is the ProWild 2. This one is about $50 more than the ProWild but boasts better total accuracy (within .3 yeards instead of 1), advanced technology, and some “high-end components,” as they say, versus the ProWild and the S.
The ProWild 2 also has a different look than the other two — a slightly different body build and a green color instead of camouflage. Essentially, the ProWild 2 is going to give you a better read and feel a bit more like a premium model.
TecTecTec offers a 2-year warranty on all their products and is known for having good customer service. The ProWild series of hunting rangefinders offers three different models at just slightly different price points, so you can definitely find one that will fit within your budget and have the specs you need for the hunt.
We like the ProWild 2 best out of the bunch because it has those additional features and better accuracy for under $150. Even so, each of these are lightweight and easy to use, so there’s really no bad things to say about any of these. TecTecTec is quickly making a name for themselves in the world of hunting optics, and these three rangefinders are good examples of why.
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.
The G-Force replaces the Bushnell Legend 1200 ARC rangefinder, a popular product with bowhunters that has now been discontinued.
The 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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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. Click here to see the current price.
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. Available in gray or Xtra Green, this compact rangefinder is an excellent option. Click here to see the current price.
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. Click here to see the current price.
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:
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. It is water resistant and rainproof, so you don’t have to worry about the elements. Click here to see the current price.
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. Click here to see the current price.
For archers 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. Click here to check the current price.
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:
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. Click here to check the current price.
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.
Here is perhaps the most extraordinary tool bow hunters have available. Once again, this rangefinder ditches the traditional 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! Click here to check the current price.
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:
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. Click here to check the current price.
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 who 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. Click here to check the current price.
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:
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″.
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 2,00 yard range, this model receives flawless reviews from plenty of customers and critics alike.
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. Click here to check the current price.
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.
For being sold at such a low price, this model is still a step up from the standard version. Priced under $150, 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. Click here to check the current price.
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! Click here to check the current price.
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:
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. Click here to check the current price.
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. Click here to see the current price.
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.
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!
The Rangemaster CRF 1600-B from Leica makes some big promises as a range finder right out of the gate. It lives up to virtually all of them with only a few minor caveats. Despite a few cons that any honest review would mention, this rangefinder along with its advanced features is worth the extra money when compared to other equipment in its class.
The CRF 1600 comes with a considerable number of advanced features. However, this means that operation is slightly more complex than comparable units. Rangemaster took this concern into consideration, providing a one-touch operation mode for simple range measurements. The secondary button on the unit provides you with access to the more-advanced features. The actual range for the equipment is listed at 1,600 yards. At the outside edge of this number, the finder is only performing in top tiers when a reflective object is in the picture. Still, where gauging the distance of deer and trees are concerned, the abilities of this equipment are certainly impressive.
Before we get more in-depth into the accuracy and build, here’s an overview of the key features of the CRF 1600-B:
Range: 10-1600 yards
Integrated thermometer/barometer sensors
Waterproof & fogproof
Good light gathering capabilities & easy-to-read LED
7x magnification & wide FOV
The accuracy of the CRF 1600 is par for the course. Up to 500 yards, you can count on being within your target reading by one yard on the outside. When reading distances closer to 1,000 yards, you may experience inaccuracy by as little as two yards. Above 1,000 yards, most experts have found that the accuracy hovers within plus to minus 0.5 percent. The number of benefits one can gain using this rangefinder are nothing to underestimate. On top of the outstanding range, the complete unit is extremely durable and well-suited for almost any environment. It goes on to provide atmospheric temperature and pressure readings as well.
The advanced features continue to expand in the various additional modes, offering users angles of inclination in relation to targets and potential ballistic curvatures once you have entered information concerning the particulars of ammunition. Another major selling point for this equipment is the optical clarity and its ability to gather light. It can collect visual information in a impressive array of environmental conditions in addition to presenting a stunning LED readout. The optics for the piece excel thanks to the inclusion of Aqua-Dura coating and P40 phase-correction coating. The result is a clear and crisp image in any setting as long as the temperature is between 14 and 131-degrees Fahrenheit.
The durability of the rangefinder is made possible by plastic that features carbon-fiber reinforcement. This coating is complimented by an interior chassis composed of cast aluminum. Maintaining the comfort of the piece is a soft lacquer finish on the exterior. Unlike many units developed over the past decade, there is no worry of fogging due to the fact that the most critical components are nitrogen-charged. The unit is also totally water tight for depths of up to one yard for a duration of under half an hour. Raw performance also adds to the list of strengths for this field companion. It auto-focuses in seconds, and the linear field of view is generous enough to allow you to locate and close in on targets rapidly.
The versatility of the CRF 1600 is worth mentioning as well. The viewfinder features a rubber cupping that is retractable, compensating for use with corrective lens or the naked eye. Users also have the option of utilizing diopter compensation control in order to adjust the image sharpness for their individual eyesight. The piece is powered by a single 3V, CR2 battery. While this hardware is powerful, replacements can be hard to come by in most markets. All points considered, this rangefinder puts itself at the top of the pack when looking at the field as a whole.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
The LaserWorks LE-032 scope is a curious optic designed to be mounted on a gun, crossbow, or hunting bow. It doesn’t look like your average rifle scope but in the end it’s not designed to replace true rifle scopes.
It doesn’t have the round tubes and lenses that are customary for rifle scopes. It’s actually designed to fit on top of your rifle scopes by either of the rings that attach it to the firearm.
If you have a bow or crossbow that has hardpoints for attachments, simply choose the position that feels right for you.
The purpose of the LE-032 is to replace the traditional rangefinder you carry around with you and have all your ranging equipment in one place. We can see this being of enormous help to hunters who don’t like having to handle their weapon and rangefinder with two hands. With the LE-032, you can handle the weapon and acquire distance without using separate devices.
The all-electronic readout is also bright and readable if you’re switching between it and the actual scope (if you’re using a gun or crossbow). If you’re using any type of bow, you may have to angle you’re head a bit but not by much.
Precision to +/- 1M
Maximum range: 700M
Speed range: 0-300KM/H
There is some discussion that there may be a slight distortion in the LE-032’s accuracy due to the fact that the laser emitter is sitting a couple of inches above the scope and even more so above the muzzle of the gun. This can be a huge factor when shooting at long distance or if it’s windy or foggy outside.
The LE-032 compensates for this situation by having an overall small frame. It looks big on the webpage but in your hands, it’s actually pretty small. If it were bigger, it would weigh more and it would start affecting your shot.
The rangefinder has five modes for different situations: ordinary ranging, fog, horizontal distance, fog and horizontal, and speed. These modes will help you acquire accurate distance in different weather conditions and if your target is on the move.
The one big problem (especially for bows) is that you can’t see what the rangefinder is locking on to. With normal rangefinders, you can look down the lenses to what you’re trying to acquire. For rifles and crossbows that have actual scopes, this will be easier and the distance much more accurate.
Despite the LE-032 being a relatively new product, it has some good feedback from customers who appreciate its light weight (.6 lb) and reliability. We understand the hesitation that occurs sometimes with a new design or concept, but the LE-032 has surprised many by having trustworthy ranging data.
Full-size rangefinders have prices that vary from the tens to hundreds of collars, and the LE-032 probably leans more so on the expensive side. However, in our opinion, its benefits justify the cost, especially when you consider how much you’ll be packing on your trip and the device’s versatility with ranging modes.
While it was just released and unlikely to be discounted so soon, Upland Optics’ new rangefinder is worth a look. We’re big fans of their binoculars, so we expect great things from this new product. With 1000 yard accuracy and weather resistance, this would make a fantastic gift for the sportsman on your holiday shopping list (or even for yourself!). Be the first to own this excellent rangefinder.
This under $100 rangefinder offers in-view LCD and 10 to 600 yard accuracy. If you want a budget pick that will still get the job done, the Simmons rangefinder is a good option. This is a popular rangefinder for bowhunters.
The Nikon Aculon is a solid rangefinder at a good price. It’s compact and lightweight, and it is optimized for 6 to 550 yards. This is a great option for bowhunters and golfers as it has great optics and is easy to carry around.
A little pricey, this rangefinder has excellent optics and great grips. It’s designed for the elements, so it’s weatherproof and lightweight. It features the well-known Vortex design and offers accuracy for 10 to 1000 yards.
Give the Gift of a Rangefinder
Many hunters and golfers want a rangefinder, but it’s often at the bottom of their “must-buy” list. That’s why a rangefinder makes a great gift for your loved ones this holiday season. Keep an eye out for sales and deals this Black Friday and Cyber Monday and into the month of December.
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.
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.
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
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
The 9-volt battery may be difficult to change in the field
You must turn off the rangefinder to switch between yards and meters
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