When you miss a shot and take look at your rangefinder to say, this was supposed to be the best rangefinder for hunting. Don’t put a long list of the blame on your rangefinder.
In every tactical or bow hunting session, it’s expected that the prime target would go down or at least some damages would be done. When this does not happen often, then you’re either shooting blindly or at least you lack some accuracy.
If this has been your experience till now, then you probably want to see some improvement this hunting season. The best way around this problem would be to invest in a good rangefinder that would get the job done.
Whether you’re new to sports optics or you need to replace your old ranging equipment, adding the best rangefinder to your hunting arsenal is extremely important to have a truck bed of bucks every time you are out there in the field.
If you think it’s a splurge, then incorporate optics into your hunt, and you would be amazed at the difference it would make.
However, as helpful as they are, not all rangefinders are designed for long-distance use. Some rangefinders can prevent you from hitting your mark.
But how exactly do you go about finding the best one?
The purpose of this article is to help you identify the best rangefinders in the market for the job.
Why Hunting Rangefinders Are Important?
Whether you’re a hunter or a tactical shooter, knowing the range of your shot is extremely important if you wish to successfully hit your mark. Just a little miscalculation can make you miss a prized prey, which can be very frustrating.
In the past, the long-range shooting was something that was only within the confines of purists or best shooters. They had to rely on their naked eyes and accurate estimations to pick off their targets.
So to really excel in that age, you had to be a good shooter.
Luckily, today, the story is quite different. With the introduction of rangefinders, anyone can engage in distance shooting and do well regardless of their skill level.
Adding the best rangefinder to your weaponry will help you read the exact distance to your target, as well the ballistic range, making it much easier to shoot more accurately.
If you need a little more convincing, here are four major reasons why you need the best hunting rangefinder:
No More Guesswork
Hunting without any optical aid opens you up to a lot of guesswork. And most of the time, you are more likely to shoot aimlessly or close to the target depending on your skill level and experience.
However, with the right rangefinder, there’s no guesswork. You will be able to make a clean shot. No serious hunter would like to spend several hours tracking a wounded prey or worst still allowing the animal to get away with any inflicted pain.
Become Better in Making Estimations
Even though you have the best rangefinder at your disposal, it is not every time you will have the chance to bring it out to range the prey. Sometimes, a deer or an antelope can sneak up on you when you least expect, and you won’t have the time to reach for your rangefinder.
One of the benefits of using a hunting rangefinder frequently is that it helps to improve your estimation skills so that during those times when it’s not convenient to use the device, you will be able to intuitively make accurate estimations of distances to your target. And most of the time, you would be lucky.
Get Closer To Your Target
This is extremely important for long range shooting. There were probably times you made attempts to get too close to a prey, only to give yourself away with the snap of a twig. It might take you a long time to get another chance or you might lose the game completely.
With a rangefinder, you can avoid this. You will be able to get closer to your target without leaving your position or spooking your prey in the process.
No More Issues With Steeps Or Angles
The inclusion of ballistic calculators in rangefinders gives you an edge when hunting on uneven topographies. This is extremely important for bow hunters who have to deal with inclines and declines most of the time.
This feature helps you to be more accurate in your shooting by providing you with accurate ranges of your target whether you are shooting on a plain field or from a tree. This is even more important if you are shooting over hundreds of yards.
Best All-Purpose Laser Rangefinder for Hunting And Beyond
To help clear up the confusion that comes with choosing from so many brands in the market, we’ve done a lot of research and come up with the best all-purpose laser rangefinders in the market.
1.Leica Rangemaster CRF 2000-B Laser Rangefinder
If you are an avid long range shooter, then you should have heard about Sig Sauer Kilo’s powerful rangefinder for long range shooting. If you’re looking for a premium alternative to the Sig Sauer that will offer you more finesse and precision, then the Leica Rangemaster CRF 2000-B Laser Rangefinder is your brand.
Equipped with a lot of smart features, this model is currently rated by many customers as one of the best rangefinders in the market. Its ability to mark targets up to 2000 yards away with incredible precision makes it a dream machine for long-range hunters.
Although sophisticated, it has a convenient weight of 185g and a compact design that fits into your pocket. It offers a magnification level not peculiar with most standard rangefinders in its genre.
With the CRF 1000-R, you get 1000 range in yards which is just ideal for bow hunting. But with the CRF 2000-R, you can clock up to 2000 yards (1825m), which makes it sufficient for long-range shooting. And given the super-fast line of sight, it gives you to the target, you would agree this is the perfect add-on for the hunter who doesn’t want to miss out on any prey.
To be more exact, the Leica CRF 2000-B doesn’t only determine distances but also computes the associated ballistic curve to enable you shoot with the highest level of accuracy regardless of your shooting angle.
Interestingly, this unit provides a magnification of 7x, which is quite outstanding compared to what is obtainable with many similar models. This incredible optics allows you to get a wide view of the target with optimal image brightness.
Overall, this rangefinder will make an indispensable companion for the serious long-range shooter. It is lightweight, portable, and water-proof. Although it is high on the pricey side, it is worth the investment considering the amazing features it offers.
- Long battery life
- Ideal for rifle and bow hunting
- High level of magnification
- Compact size and Lightweight
- Very portable
- Battery is not easily accessible
2.Wildgame Innovations Halo XRT Range Finder
Finding the perfect companion for bow hunting might not always be straightforward given the assortment of models on display in the market. The Wildgame Innovations XRT by Halo is one rangefinder that is greatly loved by both hunting enthusiasts and golfers alike.
Due to its incredible simplicity and ergonomic feel, it has emerged as one of the most popular rangefinders in its category today. The Halo XTR is ideal for ranging targets about 500 yards, but you can still go farther.
The expected maximum range of the unit according to its specification is 900 yards while the magnification is 6x. So the average bow hunter will likely find it more than enough to meet his optic needs.
Like many top-end models, this ranger features a scan mode which is quite useful especially when you are on the go. It is also powered by a CR2 battery which has a long lifespan. And as expected, it is built on the Halo frame which is undeniably one of the best in the market.
It is also water resistant and has a compact size that makes it fit easily into your pocket. As earlier indicated, the strongest selling point of this unit is its ergonomic feel which makes it a great catch for long-term use.
Although it has been a favorite for many compound bow hunters, it’s slowly gaining ground in the rifle hunting league. Overall, this rangefinder is a high-quality model with an ergonomic and compact design. For its price, it’s definitely a great take.
- Ergonomic design
- Compact size
- Comes with scan mode
- Great for bow hunting
- Not the best for long range shooting
3.Nikon 8397 ACULON AL11 Laser Rangefinder
As a pioneer in the industry, Nikon is well-known for their line of quality rangefinders for bow hunting and beyond. The Nikon ACULON AL11 is undeniably one of their trending products. This all-purpose rangefinder offers everything you need for both archery and target shooting.
It comes with a compact body that makes it very portable and allows for easy handling. In fact, its small size can be compared with that of most smartphones and if the idea of fitting in your pocket doesn’t go down well with you, you can consider wearing it around your neck.
And given the light weight of the device -4.4 ounces- you might not even notice it’s there. One of the first things you will notice about this rangefinder is its user-friendly design.
With just the push of a button, you can start ranging your target. And as long as you continue holding down the button, the device delivers continuous measurement while you are still scrolling across the visible area. This usually lasts for about 20 seconds.
This rangefinder automatically goes off after 8 seconds of inactivity, to preserve the battery life. To reduce the loss of light due to reflection and ensure a natural view that is clearly well enough, this unit is built with Nikon’s multilayer coated optics and features long eye relief.
Its Distance Target Priority Mode gives you the distances of several targets including the farthest one, so you can identify obstacles in the prime target path. All these help to complement its 20mm objective lens and 6x magnification power to help you make more accurate shots.
Overall, this unit is a good bet if you are looking for a rangefinder that will deliver world-class performance with high precision. You won’t be disappointed!
- Compact design
- Simple display
- High-quality optics
- Enhanced level of accuracy
- Energy saving and Long-lasting
- Expensive batteries
Top Laser Rangefinders Specifically for Rifle
To excel in the woods or field, you need to be fully prepared for all the weather changes, distances and terrain. The right rangefinder is something that can be incredibly useful. Below are our picks for the top laser rangefinders specially designed for rifle-hunting.
1.Vortex Optics Ranger 1500 Laser Rangefinder
If you are so obsessed with quality and wouldn’t mind paying handsomely for a premium model, then the Vortex Optics Ranger 1500 is worth considering.
Equipped with a 6x magnified optic and carefully sealed for dirt and weather resistance, this rangefinder offers everything you would ever need to increase your turn-ins either as a hunter or a long-range shooter.
This powerful rangefinder can be seen as a HUGE improvement of the Vertex Optics Ranger 1000. It is specifically designed for rifle hunting and so comes highly recommended for everyone who wishes to make more conversions from long range shootings.
At 7.7 ounces, this model is a featherweight and thus convenient to carry about. It has a bright display which includes a detailed menu for selecting your desired range very quickly. And you have the option to choose between 3 different brightness settings.
You will be able to conveniently place targets between 9 – 1500 yards and shoot with a high degree of accuracy. Its primary HCD (horizontal component distance) mode also enables you to make precise hits from steep terrains through its compensated distance with an angle.
You can also opt for the LOS (line of sight) mode or scan mode, for different readings on distance measurements. In other words, you will be able to get a lot of bang irrespective of the position or angle you are shooting from.
This gadget is powered by a powerful CR2 battery which automatically seizes to supply power after the device is inactive for 10 seconds. It also comes with an anti-reflective lens which enables you to see clearly even in dim light conditions. Its compact design and rugged construction make it very durable and convenient to use and carry about.
Overall, the Vertex Optics Ranger 1000 is a great rangefinder to have as a rifle hunter. Although it’s on the pricey side, you will feel the difference in the increased accuracy it provides for distance measurements above 700 yards.
- Very versatile
- Easy to read optics
- Accurate ranges
- Weatherproof and hardy
- Battery operated
2.Zeiss Victory PRF Laser Rangefinder
When shooting at long distances, the best way to know the exact holdover point to your target is always with a reliable rangefinder. Not only do you gain greater awareness of your prey, but you also get a boost of confidence to bang without missing.
The Victory PRF Laser Rangefinder might not provide the largest in the rangefinder family, but it’s definitely one of the most powerful models out there for bow and rifle hunting. It takes only a matter of seconds to accurately measure long distances – up to 1200 meters – with great precision and repeats accuracy.
And thanks to the high-performance optics, you will be able to see the finest of details even in dim light conditions. Interestingly, this award-winning model is the first ever digital laser rangefinder with BIS (ballistic information system) and an integrated LED display.
This should explain why it’s on the pricey side. With a feature like the BIS, you can now secure the holdover points for dead on aim; something that’s not possible with most rangefinders in its category.
Although this might not be the lightest unit in the market, it still provides a comfortable carry with its cup size. This can even turn out to be a great advantage for some experienced target shooters.
Many users have reported that they were impressed with the sharp optics this model provides, as well as the accurate readings which is spot-on. This is why they are able to go pass the price tag.
- Compact size
- Lotu-Tec coatings
- LED display
- High accuracy
- Lacks angle compensation
3.Tectectec Pro Wild Hunting Rangefinder
As earlier indicated, the major job of a rangefinder is to tell you the distance separating you and your target. Why is it important for this distance to be accurate? Because you don’t want to end up tracking an injured animal.
Whether you’re a bow hunter or a target shooter, if you’re primarily concerned about accuracy, then you might want to consider choosing the Tectectec Pro Wild. Although the company brand is fairly new to the hunting scene, they’ve managed to deliver world-class optic equipment that gets the job done.
The Pro Wild is undeniably one of them. This device is better in every way – design, performance, speed and of course, quality. It is simple as can be, such that, even an absolute beginner will find it to be the perfect companion.
With a magnification of 6X, the Pro Wild measures over 540 yards of distance. It has a continuous scan mode which allows you to range your targets even while on the go. Thanks to its built-in speed meter, you can also evaluate the speed of your target so you can know how fast they are bounding away.
Like most top-end models, this unit is engineered on multi-layered optics and has a compact size which easily fits in your pocket. It is lightweight and provides you with a rapid accuracy to within 1 yard.
What makes this unit very attractive to users is its affordable price which makes it very attractive for those on budget. You will also love the simplicity it provides. Overall, this is a great rangefinder for the money.
- Great price
- Rapid accuracy
- Multilayer optics
- Lightweight & Compact size
- The unit may arrive defective
Classic Laser Rangefinder Specifically for Bow Hunting
Want the best optic equipment for bow hunting? Here are the top 3 choices for the money.
1.Bushnell The Truth Rangefinder
Although there are no perfect rangefinders for bowhunting, you will find a few models that are close and one of them is the Truth Laser Rangefinder by Bushnell.
Equipped with Clearshot technology to eliminate guesswork, this optic gadget is specially designed to provide quick accurate ranges on your targets and inform you of potential obstructions to your shot clearance.
In other words, this unit helps to eliminate the need for guestimates in determining the distance to your target. And also gives you a feedback on your shot clearance by identifying anything that can hinder your arrow in flight. Its 4 power magnification also enables you to acquire targets more easily and with greater accuracy.
Once the distance to the target has been marked, a dot is displayed on the device screen which gives you an idea of the maximum height your arrow will go when released. From here, you can easily identify any obstructions in the flight path, and then resolve to take the shot or not.
Also, the ability to calibrate the device so that it matches the speed of your bow helps to increase your conversions. Interestingly, this unit comes with an ARC (automatic range compensation) mode which automatically takes care of any differences in angles and distances when shooting on steep terrains.
So whether you’re banging from an inclined angle, declined angle, or a plane surface, you will still be able to obtain the same level of accuracy regardless. Like many rangefinders in its category, the Truth Laser Rangefinder has a maximum range of 7-850 yards, which is something to laud about for bow hunting.
However, for long range shooting, you will need something more powerful. The major downside with this unit is that it’s not weatherproof, so care must be taken when using in harsh weather conditions.
Nevertheless, due to its compact design, it is very convenient to handle and carry about in an archer’s pocket. And it comes at a very reasonable price.
- Compact design
- Higher precision
- Angle compensation
- Not weatherproof
2.Wosports Rangefinder For Bow Hunting
Opting for versatile and multifunction rangefinder is the best way to ensure you don’t ever become handicapped when out there in the woods. You want a unit that doesn’t only determine distances but also slope, angle, speed and more.
The Wosports Rangefinder for bow hunting helps you to meet this important need at a very affordable price. Specifically made for bow hunting and golf, this rangefinder delivers a high degree of accuracy not common with many models in its category.
It uses a laser to range targets up to 700 yards when the scanning mode is initiated. Golfers will be impressed with its PinkSeeker technology which helps golfers to identify flagships, especially when they obscure and out of sight.
This unit delivers a magnification power of 6 which allows for high precision and image focus. It weighs only 180 grams and has a compact design that makes it very portable and convenient to carry about.
This is extremely important since you are going to be mobile most of the time, and you don’t want a device that will get in the way or weigh down your pocket.
In addition, this unit is made with a durable body construction that is water-proof. So you don’t have to worry about getting caught in a rainstorm. It’s also dust-proof, which means it will not be affected by dust when you store it anywhere around the house.
Also included in the product package is a carrying pouch which helps to conceal and further protect the device; though you might not need to carry it every time. You will also get a microfiber cloth for cleaning the device.
Like many top models, the Wosports is powered by a CR2 battery, so you can bank on its long life.
- Compact design
- Highly versatile
- High accuracy
- Easy to use
- Long-life span
- Focusing might be hard
3.Bushnell Scout DX 1000 ARC Rangefinder
One of the ordeals of using a poorly made rangefinder is that it makes it difficult for you to notice the objects in the foreground. This leads to many missed targets and “truckload of emptiness”, which is not only discouraging but also frustrating.
As a serious bowhunter, you will want to avoid this by all means. One of the ways you can do this is by working with a reliable rangefinder like the Bushnell Scout DX 1000 ARC.
This simple yet powerful laser rangefinder is carefully designed with the bowhunter in mind, but will also make a great tool for the rifle user. It is built to provide you with extreme precision and speed – thanks to its ESP (Extreme Speed Precision) technology.
It has ARC modes that are extremely useful for measuring horizontal distances and angles when operating on steep terrains. There are basically two ARC modes – ARC Rifle mode and ARC bow mode; thus the device is outfitted for both rifle and bow.
This unit provides you with up to 1000 yards distance ranging, which is perfect for bow hunting and quite adequate for many long range shooting applications. it has a 6X magnification and features a Variable Sight-in (VSI) mode, which helps you to obtain clearer views of your targets.
It is also weather-proof, so you don’t have to worry about harsh weather changes. Overall, the Scout DX is a solid unit that promises to do a good job. It is highly durable and comes at a pretty affordable price.
- Higher precision
- Multiple distance modes
- Great for both bow and rifle hunting
- Not suitable for ranging over 1000 yards
Buying Guide – Things To Look Out For In a Rangefinder
Although a rangefinder is an important tool to have in your hunting arsenal, using the wrong one can bring you more frustration than gain. This is why it’s important to shop wisely.
So how can you identify a quality rangefinder given the huge number of brands in the market? Below are six things you should look out for;
Just like with any other item, the cost is an important subject when in the market for a new rangefinder; and as expected, price and quality go hand in hand.
Sometimes you can tell the quality of a product from its price, but this is not always the case. While a high price tag is not always an indication of quality, a high-quality product will always come with a higher price tag.
So in the case of a rangefinder, there’s a huge difference in quality between the most expensive model and the cheapest model. As such we strongly recommend going for the best quality you can afford.
Maximum range is extremely important to consider when shopping for a rangefinder. For long range shooting applications, you will want to go for a unit that can give you an accurate reading for up to 1,000 yards distance or more.
Although bow hunting might require less ranging, it’s still better to go for a rangefinder that has a high maximum effective range.
Generally, it is advisable to opt for high maximum range regardless of the purpose you are using the device for, especially if pricing doesn’t matter much to you.
Most times, the price difference between a rangefinder that can measure 1000 yards and the one that ranges up to 1500 yards will not be much. In this case, it is better to go for the latter because once you are able to master 1000 yard range, the unit will still remain useful.
Since you are less likely going to be shooting on the same level with your target, it’s extremely important to get a rangefinder that can provide you with some angle compensation regardless of the nature of the terrain you are hunting.
This is because the prime factor affecting the projectile drop of your shot is the angle it takes off from, which is the same as the angle you are shooting.
Angle compensation usually differs with brands, but the most important thing is for the rangefinder to possess the feature.
Magnification is extremely important because it determines whether or not you are going to get a solid picture of your target.
Without enough magnification, it will be very difficult, if not Impossible to range your target. At the same time, too much magnification is bad because it will likely make the rangefinder bigger and will need a larger objective lens. Perhaps it makes it very difficult for you to stay on target.
The best thing is to have a fine balance. A magnification of 7-10 is usually desirable for 1000-yard rangefinders.
When you take apart the components of a rangefinder, you will quickly discover that most of them are made from different fragile materials. These include but not limited to the laser emitters, lenses, and electronics.
Since none of these components can be said to be durable on its own, it becomes imperative to have a tough body connecting them.
In other words, the durability of a rangefinder largely depends on its body strength.
As a bow hunter, you want to go for a rangefinder that’s somewhat tough to keep up with the demands of your lifestyle. In addition, the rangefinder should be fog proof and well-sealed against the elements.
You want a rangefinder that can be carried and forgotten, not one that looks like a piece of China.
6.Weight and Size
When shopping for a rangefinder, size and weight are two major areas you want to look into depending on what you want to use the device for.
For a bench shooter, weight might not matter much since the gadget is less likely to be lugged around very much.
However, for a tactical shooter or bow hunter, it’s a different case entirely.
It is important to go light as a bow hunter, so you need a rangefinder that won’t put much weight on your arms. And since you need to stay hidden from your target, it’s also important you get a gadget has a compact size.
It will be very difficult to maintain a low profile if you carry a large machine you wave around very often. The best bet is to get a rangefinder that is slim, compact and lightweight.
Top Best Rangefinder Brands
So what are the best rangefinder brands in the market? Here some of the top on the list.
Apart from being one of the pioneers in the industry, Leica is one company that is well-known for their high-quality performance rangefinders. All their products are basically built using the same technology, which makes them reliable and highly precise.
They make it possible to easily determine the range of a target by just pressing a button, thereby offering you a perfect viewing experience that is safe and convenient.
According to Leica, their rangefinders are fitted with the finest components which allow them to be rugged and compact. In other words, these gadgets are long-lasting despite the many fragile parts they consist of; they also allow easy carry and handling, which makes them perfect for bow hunting and target shooting.
When it comes to selecting the best brands of rangefinder with the best technologies currently available, Halo is unarguably a top choice.
All Halo rangefinders are built with the standard AL technology powered, which is by another technology known as Optical Logic technology. This helps in accounting for slope to your prey or any other object you have in view, so that no matter where you are, you can obtain the same precise ranging on your targets.
The magnification on halo models can be 6x or 8x, which allows for maximum image view and clarity for both archery and long range shooting. They also feature a scan mode which makes constant ranging possible, even while on the go.
Nikon is a Photography brand that is internationally known for the superior optical technologies they utilize in their laser rangefinders. They offer a wide range of products with ample features that are tailored to various applications.
According to Nikon, their rangefinders are specifically designed for hunting and golfing, and each one is meant to serve for its purpose.
Apart from using the best technologies, Nikon rangefinders are also popular for their leading-edge designs.
Bushnell is another brand that has been on the industry’s forefront for over 65 years. They have a reputation for offering some of the best quality and high-performance rangefinders in the market. These models are also some of the most reliable and affordable options you can find.
The company is also known for the excellent customer support they offer, as long as the strong partnerships they’ve established with clients over the years. They offer rangefinders for specific applications in hunting, tactical shooting and golfing. The Scout DX 2000 ARC is just one of their trending products.
When it comes to rangefinders with the best thought-out designs and rapid precision, Vortex is top on the list. Their rangefinders are normally built with an emphasis on precision to meet the needs of the average tactical shooter. This is why their products are commonly used by pro marksman, as well as experienced hunters.
Apart from their meticulous designs and high accuracy, their rangefinders are easy to use and come with displays that are easy to understand. The Vortex gadget on our list features a primary Horizontal Distance Mode (HCD) which provides angle compensation when ranging targets on steep terrains.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the questions commonly asked by people when in the market for a rangefinder.
What factors determine the accuracy of rangefinder?
There are two major factors that will enable you to tell how accurate or precise an optic equipment is: the magnification and objective lens. So you want to pay attention to both areas when shopping for your rangefinder.
Where can I buy these products?
Each one of these items can be obtained online. It’s even less costly and more convenient for you.
What is the best magnification to go for?
There is no such thing as a “perfect” magnification. The value you choose should depend on your particular application. A magnification of 4x-8x is usually recommended depending on what you want to achieve.
What difference does a coated lens make?
To score an A+, you need more than an average lens. Coated lenses help control the amount of light that be transmitted through the optics and also reduce stuff like glare. But rangefinders with such type of lenses tend to cost more.
How are rangefinders powered?
These units are powered by batteries.
Do these units come with warranty?
Yes. Almost every one of these rangefinders offers some warranty just in case defects or non-user instigated damages. Most warranties last for 2 years, but there are few that last for a lifetime.
Is the grip anti-slip?
Yes. In a bid to ensure comfortable handling, these rangefinders are built with anti-slip handles. Some are siding ridges while others are rubber.
This is where we draw the curtains. We believe we’ve been able to touch everything you need to know about purchasing the best rangefinder for hunting.
What is your favorite brand? Share your experience with us soonest. We will love to see your comment in the box below.