Best Rangefinder for Long Range Shooting

A Complete Guide for Selecting the Best Rangefinder for Long Range Shooting!

Latest Ranging Technology with Detailed Reviews, Video Demos, and Pro’s and Con’s! (2021 Recommendations)

When you’re shooting at distances to 500 yards or further, it’s imperative to have the Best Rangefinder for Long Range Shooting to hit your target the first shot. Knowing the precise distance Rangefinders for Long Range Shootingcan make the difference in a clean humane shot or a missed opportunity.

Unfortunately some rangefinder models still utilize wide beam divergence laser technology which is fine for close to medium range. However as the beam continues to widen with each successive yard it becomes inaccurate at ranging objects at long ranges. Consequently every long range shooter understands that the longer the shot the more critical knowing the exact distance becomes.​

Fortunately, some of the top-rated rangefinder models feature Low Beam Divergence laser technology. This amazing technology is capable of measurements as accurate as plus or minus 1 yard out to 450 yards and beyond. However, choosing the best rangefinder for long range shooting isn’t just about accuracy. Other features such as display quality, simple operation, and rugged construction are just as important when it comes to long range hunting and shooting competitions.

The purpose of this article is to provide enough reliable information to help you select the best laser rangefinder for your type of long-range shooting. Plus make feature and model suggestions I believe you should consider.

What are the Best Rangefinders for Long Range Shooting?

RECOMMENDATIONS

The rangefinder models recommended below here are what I consider the best and not the cheapest.  I have listed some models that simply measure distance to a long range target with Slope Angle Correction.

Also, I have included models with onboard Ballistic Software and Processor that provides the shooter with precise hold-over and hold-off shooting solutions.  This category tends to be relatively expensive but the technology is well worth it for many shooters.

So, where is the best place to Shop for a Top-Rated Laser Rangefinder?

When it comes to shopping for shooting optics I often find the best prices at Optics Planet.  They specialize in almost everything firearms and shooting-optics planet is a preferred merchant for shopping for shooting gearrelated gear, especially Rangefinders and Scopes.  Their customer service is second to none and they offer FREE Shipping on any purchase over $49 plus there is no hassle with returns if you aren’t happy with your purchase.  Another huge reason I like Optics Planet is they provide more important product details and specs than other merchants.

Amazon features a wide selection and competitive pricesOn the other hand, Amazon offers an amazing number of products and their prices are often similar to OP.  They offer FREE Shipping for Prime members on most products.  Additionally, they also have nicer product pictures which is helpful.

To help you compare rangefinders more easily I created a side-by-side table plus a highly detailed overview of each product.

In my humble opinion, these are the 5 Best Rangefinders for Long Range Shooting.
ProductMax. Ranging DistanceSlope Angle CorrectionBallistic CalculatorRecommendationMore Info.
Sig Sauer KILO2400ABS Applied Ballistics LRF 7x25mm
Sig Sauer KILO2400ABS Rangefinder
2,400 yards
Yes
Yes
Long-range hunting small or large animals. Precision long-range shooting competitions

Jump to details
Leica CRF Rangemaster 2800.COM
Leica CRF Rangemaster 2800.COM
2,800 yards
Yes
Yes
Long-range varmint hunting or large game animals. Precision Long-range shooting competitions
Jump to details
Vortex Optics Razor HD 4000 Laser Rangefinder
Vortex Optics Razor HD 4000 Laser Rangefinder
4,000 yards
Yes
No
Long-range hunting large game animals
Jump to details
Bushnell 6x24mm Nitro 1800 Ballistic Rangefinder
Bushnell 6x24mm Nitro 1800 Ballistic Rangefinder
2,000 yards (1.36 miles)
Yes
Yes
Long-range varmint or hunting large game. Shooting competitions
Jump to details
Leupold RX-2800 TBR Laser Rangefinder
Leupold RX-2800 TBR Laser Rangefinder
2,800 yards
Yes
Yes
Long-range hunting large or small animals
Jump to details
number one

Sig Sauer KILO2400ABS Applied Ballistics Rangefinder – 7x25mm SOK24701

The Sig Sauer KILO2400ABS is a pocket-sized digital long range ballistics rangefinder with ranging capabilities upSig Sauer KILO2400ABS Applied Ballistics Rangefinder to 2,400 yards. It features the most advanced ballistics software for almost any rifle/ammo combination. Every ballistic component including all weather variables are calculated to provide a dead-on accurate shooting solution almost instantly.

A Bluetooth connectivity feature enables interfacing with an Android or iOS Smartphone with Free App. Four separate Ballistic Profiles can be set up and synchronized to the KILO2400ABS for complete stand-alone operation.

SIG SAUER – the Company

SIG SAUER is an American company based in Newington, NH. It is part of a world-wide business group of firearms manufactures that includes J.P. Sauer & Sohn and Blaser, Gmbh. Headquarted in Germany.
With over 1,200 employees and ISO 9001 Certification SIG SAUER has been on a quest to produce unparalleled firearms, ammo, and gear that meets the demands of the modern shooter.

Overview

The Sig Sauer KILO2400ABS is everything you could ever ask for in a rangefinder for long range shooting. Once you get it set up, its the only device you will need to get you on target quickly with the most precise shooting solutions possible.

This is the preferred unit for the elite competition shooter that requires absolute accurate measurements at long ranges.  And long-range hunters who have discovered the huge benefit of being able to range a game animal and get an almost instant shooting solution.

Main Features

The Sig Sauer KILO2400ABS Rangefinder has way too many pro-level features to list them all on one page but here are just a few:Sig Sauer KILO2400ABS free app is easy to navigate and edit

  • LightWave DSPTM Technology: Experience the fastest and longest ranging capability up to 2 miles
  • 4.0 Bluetooth Connectivity: Communicate with your Smartphone or compatible Kestrel Wind Meter
  • Embedded Applied Ballistics Elite: The most advanced ballistics software available for dead-on accurate long-range shooting solutions
  • FREE Downloadable SIG Ballistic App: Build and edit up to (4) Customizable ballistic profiles on your Android/iOS Smartphone, the synchronize with the KIILO via Bluetooth connection
  • SpectraCoatTM Lens Coatings: Superior light transmission and anti-reflection with optical clarity
  • HyperScanTM Technology:  Receive 4 range updates per second while in Scan Mode. RangeLockTM reports Last Range when scanning distant targets w/ results displayed to nearest 0.1 yard.
  • Embedded Applied Ballistics Elite Software: Access massive bullet data base w/ support for G1, G7, and AB custom drag curves when building Profiles
  • AB Ballistics Engine: The most accurate ballistic solver available trusted by professional hunting guides and long-range competitive shooters. Spin Drift, Coriolis Effect, and Aerodynamic Jump are calculated and adjusted for real-time solutions
  • Onboard Sensors:  A Magnetometer, Digital Compass, and Inclinometer provide magnetic heading and slope angle w/ Coriolis adjustment for long range shots
  • Advanced OLED Display: Small and extremely precise targeting reticle w/ Milling Features. Displays Holdover, Shot Angle, Density Altitude, Wind Direction & Speed, and Target Mode
  • Included: Free App, Tripod Mount, Molle Gear Bag, Padded Ballistic Nylon Case, Wind Meter, Tactical Pen/Stylus, Lanyard, and 3 Batteries
  • Warranty: SIG SAUER Electronic & Component Limited 5-Year Warranty

NOTE: For a Complete List of features visit SigSauer.com

Ranging Precision and Speed

With its revolutionary LightWave DSPTM (Digital Signal Processing) Technology the KILO 2400ABS can measure targets up to 2 miles with uncanny accuracy.  Unlike many competitor’s rangefinders, the aiming reticle is Sig Sauer KILO2400ABS can provide precise measurments of 1300 yards on deer 1500 on trees and 3400 yards on reflective targetsprecisely aligned with the laser beam (zeroed).  This assures you the correct distance to your intended target and not the object next to it.

The KILO 2400ABS has its own embedded sensors that read Temperature, Barometric Pressure, Humidity, Density Altitude, Direction of Fire (Compass) so you won’t need a Kestrel Weather Meter.  It does come with a separate Wind Meter (anemometer) that fits into your Android or iOS Smartphone jack for wind calls at the muzzle.  An onboard inclinometer detects slope angle so the software can provide the exact corrected range to the target.

Onboard Ballistics Software

The KILO 2400ABS utilizes the Applied Ballistics Elite Engine which is the most advanced onboard Ballistics Software available. In the blink of an eye it will calculate Aerodynamic Jump, Spin Drift, and Coriolis Effect. It will factor in each real-time weather variables and deliver a precise hold-over and hold-off on the brilliant Organic LED Display.

Smartphone Connectivity

The KILO 2400ABS rangefinder is Bluetooth 4.0 enabled so it has the ability to communicate with your Smartphone.  Once you download the free SIG Ballistic App to your Android or iOS Smartphone while on Cell or Internet WIFI service, you can customize up to (4) Ballistic Profiles using your own data.  You will have access to the massive bullet database with support for G1, G7, and AB Custom Drag Curves (Ballistic Coefficients).  So even if you are using exotic hand loads you should be able toSig Sauer KILO2400ABS can interface with smartphone via bluetooth for wind calls match up every component including barrel length, twist, muzzle velocity, and bullet weight and style to come up with a precise custom profile.

Once you have updated your Profiles on your Smartphone you can synchronize it with the KILO 2400ABS via the Bluetooth connection.

Wind Readings

Another benefit of the Bluetooth connectivity is to be able to utilize the included Wind Meter that plugs into your Smartphone’s jack.  This will enable you to obtain a cross wind velocity reading at 90° to the muzzle.  The reading is then instantly communicated to the KILO that will provide you with the hold-off correction (windage).  If by chance your Smartphone doesn’t happen to have a Jack for earphones the wind meter cannot be used.

Kestrel Wind Meter Compatible

The Sig Sauer KILO2400ABS is also programmed to interface with a LINK Enabled Kestrel Ballistic Wind Meter if you prefer.  Although the Kestrel units are wonderful products and very helpful for the long-range shooter I believe it would be redundant when if used with the KILO2400ABS.  A less expensive option might be to simply trade in your old Smartphone for a new one with an earphone jack.

Check Out this Excellent Range and Field Review of the Sig Sauer KILO2400ABS!

Operation

With all the amazing features and sophisticated ballistic software the Sig Sauer KILO2400ABS is actually quite easy to operate.

A button on the side lets you access the Menu for setting Target Mode, Display Settings, etc.  The Button on top is for activating the unit and taking range settings and activating Scan Mode. The Diopter can be focused quickly, even with gloved hands.Sig Sauer KILO2400ABS is easy to operate with 2 buttons

NOTE:  For Complete Details Read KILO2400ABSUser Manual

Specs:

  • Range: 10 to 1400 yards on Deer, 1800 yards Trees, and 200 yards on reflective Steel Targets
  • Accuracy: ± 0.5 yds. 10 up to 450 yds./m and ± 0.5% over 1000 yards
  • Magnification: 7X
  • Display: OLED w/ different Reticle Options, auto light-controlled brightness, milling features, hold-overs in MOA or MIL, shot angle, wind direction & speed, target mode, and density altitude
  • Slope Angle Correction: Yes
  • Bluetooth Capable: Yes
  • Hold-Over Values: Inches or Centimeters / Come-ups in MOA or MIL’s
  • Scan Mode: Yes, 4 range updates per second
  • Water Proof & Fog proof: Yes
  • Power Source: 3V Lithium Typ CR2 battery. Approx. 1,700 measurements

NOTE: For a Complete List of Specs visit SigSauer.com

Summary

The Sig Sauer KILO2400ABS pretty much does everything you could ask a ballistics rangefinder to do.  It can accurately measure targets as far away as 2000 yards.  With the embedded Applied Ballistics Elite software and a powerful ballistics calculator it can deliver precise shooting solutions smoking fast in almost any conditions.

Bluetooth connectivity enables you to build up to (4) Custom Profiles on your Smartphone and then synchronize with the KILO2400ABS.  Embedded sensors detect magnetic heading and slope angle w/ Coriolis (earth’s rotation) to make adjustments for long range shots.

The Sig Sauer KILO2400ABS can be used as a stand-alone ballistic rangefinder or with a Smartphone and Wind Meter for enhanced shooting solutions.

Pros

  • Extreme ranging capability to 2000 yards
  • Blazing fast and complete shooting solutions
  • Powerful ballistic engine
  • Embedded sensors provide complete environmental data
  • Bluetooth feature for customizing profiles on Smartphone
  • Easy operation and set-up

Cons

  • Wind Meter may not fit some Smartphones
  • Tripod Mount can be difficult to install
  • Very pricy

Bottom Line

As sophisticated as the Sig Sauer KILO2400ABS is, its surprisingly easy to set up and operate. The Owner Manual is very well laid out with easy to follow, step-by-step instructions. The free App that you download to your Smartphone is somewhat complex and yet intuitive.  Its easy to navigate and input your data to set up your profile.  And once you sync it with the KILO2400ABS you have the most accurate and powerful ballistic rangefinder at your command.Sig Sauer KILO2400ABS Applied Ballistics LRF 7x25mm

Its the perfect fit for the serious competition long-range shooter or the hunter who prefers taking game at long distances.  Its a great choice for varmint hunting small animals.

The few negative user complaints are mostly from Bluetooth connectivity issues.  These are invariably the result of not updating the App or possibly an obstacle in between the rangefinder and smartphone.

Personally, I would like to have seen Sig Sauer provide a tapped 1/4-20 hole in the chassis for mounting it on a tripod instead of providing an adapter.  It would be less gear to deal with and easier to set up IMHO.

As you would expect with a compact piece of precision electronic equipment, the KILO2400ABS is pricy.  This could make it a NO-Go for shooters on a tight budget.

Other than those issues, the Sig Sauer KILO2400ABS is an amazing piece of equipment that fits in the palm of your hand.  It is without a doubt the best Rangefinder with a ballistics calculator on the market for long range shooting.

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number two

Leica CRF Rangemaster 2800.COM Long Range Ballistics Rangefinder

The Leica CRF Rangemaster 2800.COM is a Compact laser rangefinder that can provide highly accurate measurements out to 2,800 yards.  It features built-in ballistics software that can be customized. It is Bluetooth Enabled forLeica CRF Rangemaster 2800.COM Long Range Ballistics Rangefinder connecting to Smartphones and/or a compatible Ballistic Weather Meter.

Leica – the Company

Leica Camera, Inc. is a German manufacture of premium camera and sports optical equipment with worldwide distribution. Their USA headquarters is located at 1 Pearl Ct A. Allendale, NJ 07401 USA.

Overview

The CRF Rangemaster 2800.COM is Leica’s latest model with high-tech features that will tantalize the most serious long range shooter.

Not only does the 2800.COM read Temperature, Air Pressure, and Angle, it is the first Compact rangefinder with Bluetooth connectivity.

“Lightning Fast”

Whether you are shooting in long-range competitions or hunting, speed is always a critical factor.

That capability is where the Rangemaster 2800.COM really shines!

With a measuring time of Approx. 0.3 seconds, this rangefinder will let you know the distance to your target almost instantly.

Bluetooth Connectivity

Leica CRF Rangemaster 2800.COM teamed up with Kestrel and smartphone for enhanced shooting solutionsThe reason the Bluetooth feature is such a big deal is it enables the 2800.COM to communicate with your Android/ iOS Smartphone and the Leica Ballistics App.

Also, the Rangemaster 2800.COM is designed so it can be paired with a compatible Ballistics Weather Meter such as the Kestrel Elite 5700.

Smartphone:

With the Leica Ballistics App downloaded to your Smartphone you are able to customize the software with your Ballistics Profile.  After selecting Language you can choose range values in Yards or Meters; your Zero range; and MIL or MOA Click Values.

The next step would be to enter your DOPE (data of previous engagements) for a particular rifle. Once you have finished programming the software in your Smartphone you would then download it to the Rangemaster 2800.COM.

With the software programmed you are ready to go hunting. Now the 2800.COM is able to take a distance reading on a reflective target while calculating the Slope Angle as well as the ambient Air Temperature and Atmospheric Pressure.  Within approximately 0.3 seconds the Shooting Solution will appear on the LED Display.

Kestrel Ballistics Weather Meter Interface

Every experienced long range shooter realizes just how much of an effect wind speed and Leica CRF Rangemaster 2800.COM with kestrel weather ballistic meter fit in the palm of your handdirection can have on a projectile over long distances.  By pairing your Rangemaster 2800.COM with a Kestrel Ballistics Weather Meter you have the huge advantage of determining the exact hold-off (windage) for any target at any range.

Kestrel utilizes Hornady’s 4DOF Ballistics Calculator software which allows even more detailed  customization than the Leica app.  Once you have added your shooting profile into the Kestrel it has the ability to communicate with the 2800.COM.

Now, when you range a target the 2800.COM measures the line-of-sight Distance and adjusts for the Slope Angle. Within a few milliseconds that information is conveyed to the Kestle via the Bluetooth connection. The Hornady 4DOF Ballistics Calculator in the Kestle processes that information along with the following measurements:

  • Altitude
  • Barometric Pressure
  • Crosswind
  • Density Altitude
  • Dew Point Temp
  • Headwind/Tailwind
  • Heat Stress Index
  • Relative Humidity
  • Station Pressure (Absolute Pressure)
  • Temperature
  • Wet Bulb Temperature (Psychrometric)
  • Wind Chill
  • Wind Direction
  • and Wind Speed

In about 0.3 seconds the most precise shooting solution possible will appear on the Display of the Kestrel Weather Meter.  The Display will clearly show come-ups and hold off in values that you selected.

Now, its up to you to make the shot!

Check Out this Leica 2800.COM Demo VIDEO

Operation

Another stand-apart feature of this device is the simplicity of operation.  Two buttons located on the top of the body are all you need to range a target, select a mode, display weather conditions, and set preferences.

Button #1:

The #1 Button is located on top of the rangefinder closest to the objective lens.  This button is used to Display weather conditions including Temperature and Atmospheric Pressure.  Each value will display sequentially.  It also allows you to set your preference for Meters or Yards.  You can also make these selections in the Leica Hunting App installed on your Smartphone while inputting your ballistics profile.

Button #2:

The #2 Button located closest to the eyepiece is used to turn on the device and to take a range measurement.  If you want to range a moving target hold it down for 2.5 seconds to activate the Scan Mode for continuous readings.

Another function of Button #2 is to adjust the Ambient Light to your preference.

Specs:

  • Range: 10 to 2800 Yards
  • Accuracy: ± 0.5 yds. 10 up to 200 yds./m and ± 0.5% over 800 yards
  • Magnification: 7X
  • Display: LED w/ 4 digits and symbols, ambient light controlled brightness control
  • Slope Angle Correction: Yes
  • Bluetooth Capable: Yes
  • Hold-Over Values: Inches or Centimeters / Come-ups in MOA or MIL’s
  • Scan Mode: Yes
  • Water Proof & Fog proof: Yes
  • Power Source: 3V Lithium Typ CR2 battery. Approx. 1,700 measurements
  • Additional Features: Senses and displays Temperature, Atmospheric Pressure, and Slope Angle

Summary

I believe the Leica CRF Rangemaster 2800.COM makes an excellent stand-alone option for the serious long range Kestrel 5700 Ballistics Weather Meter with LiNK 0857BLTANshooter. Coupled with a Kestrel Weather Meter it completes an unbeatable long range shooting system.

The German quality is unmatched by competing models and the overall design is well-thought out. Besides the lightning fast operation I really like the compact size. It feels comfortable in your hand and you can carry it in your pocket or in the included belt carry case.

Perhaps the most significant physical feature is the crystal clear glass you would expect from a German optics manufacture. It makes identifying your target that much easier.

The accuracy of the 2800.COM is ± 0.5 yds. 10 up to 200 yds./m and ± 0.5% over 800 yards.
Leica ABC® Ballistics can be customized directly through your Smartphone as well as a Kestrel Elite weather meter.

 

Ethical Limitation

An Ethical Range Limitation programmed into the Leica Ballistic Software might be a deal killer for some long range hunters. By itself, the 2800.COM will only provide hold-over values to 1,000 yards or equivalent horizontal range to 1,200 yards/1,100 meters. Additionally, it will only range Game out to 547 yards (500m) and longer ranges with reflective targets.

To avoid these ballistic limitations simply use the Kestrel. By using the 2800.COM with a Kestrel you can range reflective targets out to 2800 yards and receive precise long range shooting solutions.

Pros

  • Excellent lens clarity
  • Very fast shooting solutions
  • Reads environmental s
  • Simple operation
  • Bluetooth connectivity

Cons

  • Cannot integrate Kestle profile w/ 2800.com
  • Pricy

Bottom Line

By itself the Leica CRF Rangemaster 2800.COM is everything a long range hunter could ask for in a rangefinder.Leica CRF Rangemaster 2800.COM Long Range Ballistics Rangefinder with 5 year warranty Teamed up with a Kestrel Weather Meter it makes an winning team for long range shooting competitions.  Because of its low beam divergence its an excellent choice for ranging small animals for varmint hunting

I really like this piece of gear for use as a stand-alone rangefinder for hunting just as long as you are OK with the ethical limitation.  To get the most benefit from all the features it needs the added functions of a Kestrel.

Although the price point of this rangefinder is high, its what you would expect for an optical device of this quality.

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number three

Vortex Optics Razor HD 4000 Laser Rangefinder

The Vortex Optics Razor HD 4000 Laser Rangefinder was designed specifically for long-range hunting in real-worldVortex Optics Razor HD 4000 Laser Rangefinder environmental scenarios. It has the capability of accurately ranging reflective targets as far away as 4,000 yards. While in the HCD (horizontal component distance) Mode it will provide a corrected distance to compensate for Slope Angle.

The Vortex Optics Razor HD 4000 does NOT contain Ballistics Software and does not have Bluetooth connectivity.

Vortex Optics – the Company

Almost every avid hunter is familiar with the name “Vortex” when it comes to fine sports optics.
Vortex Optics is an American manufacturer that has developed a huge following of enthusiastic shooters who rely on their rifle scopes, spotting scopes, rangefinders, and binoculars.

In addition to their high quality products they are one of the most trusted companies with their famous lifetime product warranty.

Overview

The main reasons why I recommend the Vortex Optics Razor HD 4000 Laser Rangefinder is because of its build quality, accuracy, and the integrity of the company.

If you are a serious long-range hunter and want a rugged device that can withstand the rigors of real-world hunting scenarios, the Vortex Optics Razor HD 4000 might just be your best option.

Build Quality

Anyone who hunts regularly knows that weather conditions are not always ideal.  The Razor HD 4000 Vortex Optics Razor HD 4000 Laser Rangefinder is ideal for the serious long range hunteris built to be waterproof with O-Ring seals that lock out moisture, debris, and dust.  ArmorTek ® provides a tough scratch-resistant coating to the external lenses that protect them from scratching, dirt, and oil.

Rubber Armor over-molding provides a slip-resistant surface to grip areas and protects from scratches and dents.  The Chassis is machined from Magnesium for added strength and reduced weight.

The Diopter can be easily adjusted for differences in user’s eyes.  It does have a 1/4″-20 tapped hole for tripod mounting.  A utility clip that can be reversed securely holds the rangefinder on your belt.

Features

  • Rugged Build: Compact design, built to withstand brutal outdoor hunting conditions in any weather situation
  • Ranging Capability: Normal Mode – 1600 yards to deer, 1800 yards to trees, 2400 yards to reflective targets, and up to 4000 yards in ELR Mode
  • Format: Yards or Meters
  • (3) Ranging Modes: HCD (horizontal component distance) for Angle Compensated Distance to target, LOS (line of sight) actual straight line of sight to the target, and SCAN for ranging moving targets or panning
  • (4) Target Modes: ELR (extended laser range) displays precise range to target; FIRST MODE lock on to first results; LAST MODE locks on to object furthest away; NORMAL MODE shows the strongest measurement
  • Includes: Carrying case, Lens cloth, Hex wrench, and (1) CR2 battery
  • Warranty: Vortex Optics Lifetime Warranty
Check Out this Overview of the Vortex Optics Razor HD 4000!

Operation

The Vortex Optics Razor HD 4000 is just about as simple to operate as it can be. Two buttons allow you to turn on, take measurements, select modes, and access the menu.

Modes
Target Modes:

The Razor HD 4000 features (4) target modes. These modes are what determines the information you see in the LED Display.

  1. ELR (extended laser range): This is the mode you would select for precise ranging of deer out to 2,200 yards, 2,500 yards on trees, and 4,000 yards on reflective targets such as stone or buildings. ELR takes a little longer to return a results.
  2. NORMAL: Use this mode for ranging animals out to about 1600 yards, 1800 yards on trees, and about 2400 reflective targets.
  3. FIRST: This mode will give you the range to the closest reading. Use this in case there are other animals or trees beyond your target.
  4. LAST: Select this mode in case there are obstructions in between you and your target. I will return the result furthest from you.
Ranging Modes:Vortex Optics Razor HD 4000 Laser Rangefinder calculates slope angle for corrected distance to target

(3) different Ranging Modes are available on the Razor HD 4000.

  1. SCAN: Use this mode for ranging moving targets or panning. Receive accurate measurements on Deer out to
    2,000 yards, up to 2,200 yards on trees, and up to 2,400 yards on reflective targets.
  2. HCD (horizontal component distance): Select this mode when you are ranging a target up or downhill. It calculates the slope angle and gives you the compensated distance to the target.
  3. LOS (line of sight):  Choose LOS mode when you just want the actual straight line distance to an object without angle compensation.  For example you would use this if you wanted to know how far you would have to hike to reach a clearing a long distance away.

Specs:

  • Range: Normal Mode – Deer 1,600 yd.’s, Trees, 1,800 yd.’s, Reflective Targets 2,400 yd.’s, up to 4,000 yds. In ELR Mode
  • Accuracy: +/- 0.5 to 199.9 yds.’s, +/- 1.0 yd. from 200 – 1000 yds.’, +/- 2 yds.’ up to 1000 yds.
  • Magnification: 7X, 25 obj
  • Display: LED shows range, mode, and angle to target in HCD mode
  • Slope Angle Correction: Yes
  • Scan Mode: Yes
  • Bluetooth Capable: No
  • Ballistics Software: No
  • Water Proof & Fog proof: Yes
  • Power Source: 3V Lithium Typ CR2 battery. Up to 4,000 measurements

Summary

The Vortex Optics Razor HD 4000 is a high quality laser rangefinder that’s built specifically for long range hunters.  It is capable of providing quick and accurate measurements on deer-sized targets out to about 1600 yards in normal mode.

There is no onboard application to provide ballistic shooting solutions such as hold-overs or come-ups.  It will provide a compensated distance to an uphill or downhill target in HCD Mode.

The Razor HD 4000 is Compact Size and Light Weight which makes it easy to carry in your pocket or rifle case.

Pros

  • Accurate at long ranges
  • Rugged weatherproof construction
  • Calculates angle for corrected distance
  • Lifetime Vortex VIP Warranty

Cons

  • Pricy

Bottom Line

I recommend the Vortex Optics Razor HD 4000 if you want fast and accurate range measurements under adverse hunting conditions. This range finder is ideal for both rifle and bow hunting.

Its not going to tell you how much to come-up on your elevation turret or how many MOA’s or MIL’s to adjust for on your scope reticle. If you have put together a Range Card with your DOPE for the ranges you intend to shoot, you don’t need any ballistics software.  That’s assuming you only intend to take ethical shots under 600 yards.Vortex Optics Razor HD 4000 is reliable for long range hunting

There are other rangefinders that will perform about as well as the Razor HD 4000 for less money.  However I wouldn’t trust them to withstand the rough handling encountered in a real-world hunting situation.  If you don’t want to risk missing that trophy buck you’ve been dreaming about, I wouldn’t risk failure just to save a few $$.

The Vortex Optics Razor HD 4000 is one of the most reliable rangefinders on the market for long distance hunting, and its backed up by the Vortex VIP Lifetime Warranty.

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number four

Bushnell 6x24mm Nitro 1800 Ballistic Rangefinder

this product is the editors choiceThe Bushnell 6x24mm Nitro 1800 Rangefinder has ranging capabilities in excess of 2000 yards on reflective targets and approximatelyBushnell 6x24mm Nitro 1800 Ballistic Rangefinder 800 yards on deer-size animals. This budget-priced rangefinder has sophisticated features typically only found on units costing $1K plus.

It features onboard Applied Ballistics Software that’s capable of providing accurate shooting solutions as far as 875 yards out-of-the-box. (Software can be upgraded to extend ballistic solutions out to the full ranging limit of 2000 yards with rangefinder and 5000 yards through the APP)

Bushnell – the Company

Bushnell Corp. is an American company that manufactures outdoor equipment and sports optics. Located in Overland Park, Kansas it has become a subsidiary of Vista Outdoor. In business for over 65 years, Bushnell is best recognized for their diverse line of quality products at affordable prices.

Their products are renowned for being rugged, easy to operate, and deliver excellent performance.

Overview

Released in mid 2019, the Bushnell 6x24mm Nitro 1800 Rangefinder is designed for both long-range hunting as well Bushnell Nitro 1800 Rangefinder features angle range compensation technology for up or down hill shootingas precision long-range shooting competition.

With customizable ballistics software the Bushnell Nitro 1800 will provide you with highly accurate hold-over and hold-off shooting solutions.

The ARC (Angle Range Compensation) feature delivers instant adjustments in LOS (line of sight) measurements for up or down-hill shots. Bluetooth connectivity allows the rangefinder to interface with your Android/iOS phone or tablet for greater flexibility.

Rugged physical features withstand real world environmental conditions with easy, one-hand operation. Excellent coated real glass optics let you clearly see your target in almost all conditions.

Features

  • 6x24mm Magnification: Easily identify your target with the focusable 6X magnification eyepiece. The 24mm Objective lens gives a wide field of view making it easy to see small targets at long distances
  • Crystal Clear Optics: Both eyepiece and the 50% larger objective lens are made from real ground glass instead of molded plastic for crystal clear viewing

Bushnell 6x24mm Nitro 1800 Ballistic Rangefinder features

  • EXO Barrier: This coating is bonded to both lenses to repel, dust, debris, oil, and water to provide ultimate protection from Mother Nature
  • Ergonomic Design: Fits comfortably and naturally in hand
  • User-Friendly Operation: Simple two button operation lets you take range reading with one button and easily navigate the menu and settings with the second button
  • Eye-Safe Laser Technology: Invisible infrared energy pulses precisely measure target
  • Shot Angle Compensation: ARC Technology ARC (Angle Range Compensation) feature automatically adjusts measurement for up-hill or down-hill shots
  • Applied Ballistics APP: The Nitro 1800 comes with the Applied Ballistics Ultralite software pre-installed. It provides out-of-the-box ballistic shooting solutions as far as 875 yards. Optional Upgrades are available to extend the ballistics capability to the full 2000 yard ranging limit
  • Smartphone App: Connect your Android or iOS “Smart” device via a BLUETOOTH connection for easy shooting data input. Add data from range cards, set up multiple target distances, shot angle, weather conditions and more.
  • Kestrel Wind Meter Pairing: Pair the Nitro 1800 to any “LINK-enabled” Kestrel wind meter via Bluetooth connection. This adds critical environmental data for extreme long range shooting solutions.
  • What’s in the box: Durable carrying case, Quick Start Guide, paracord, and lanyard tether, Instruction Sheet.
  • Lifetime Warranty: The Nitro 1800 comes with the Bushnell Lifetime Warranty

Applied Ballistics Ultralite Software

The new Bushnell 6x24mm Nitro 1800 Rangefinder comes with Applied Ballistics Ultralite software pre-installed. This software has become one of the most trusted ballistics applications and is used by many serious long range shooters.

By following the easy step-by-step instructions, this user-friendly APP allows you to easily build or modify shooting profiles for multiple rifles. To build a profile you would need to input pertinent information such as caliber, ammo, and barrel length. You can also add the current weather conditions for more accurate shooting solutions.

Once this task has been accomplished you can expect to receive precise hold-over (elevation) correction for your target as far away as 875 yards. If you entered in any cross wind speed at the muzzle it will also provide hold-off (windage).

Applied Ballistics App Upgrade – How Much and What Will it Do?

The Optional Software Upgrade extends the out-of-the box ballistics solutions limit (875 yards) to the full ranging capability of the unit which is approx. 2000 yards (1.136 miles). With this update you would be able to use the Bushnell Nitro 1800 for extreme long range shooting competitions.

The current price to Upgrade to the Applied Ballistics Elite version is approximately $150.

As far as extreme long range shooting solutions go, the upgrade would put the Bushnell Nitro 1800 on par with some ballistic rangefinders costing over $1k.

How to Upgrade App

The Upgrades are available through the pre-installed software. Here is a LINK to a Brief VIDEO Tutorial entitled “Nitro 1800 – Upgrading the App” using your Smartphone.”

Ranging Example

Once you have set up a profile for a particular rifle, the Bushnell Nitro 1800 Rangefinder is ready to go to work for you.

Imagine that you are hunting and you spot what looks like a nice buck on the adjacent hillside. The 6x power magnification of the Nitro 1800 eyepiece reveals its an 8-pointer. You take a measurement of 1725 yards so you realize you must get much closer for a humane ethical shot.

After you have moved closer (within 875 yards) you take another range measurement. Almost instantaneously you receive a precise measurement to the target in yards or meters with the angle correction. The display shows you how much to hold your scope cross hair over the target for an accurate shot. And, if you input any current cross wind at the muzzle it will also display hold-off. Now, the rest is up to you!

Setting Up your Ballistics Profile

At this point it can get a bit confusing because there are actually 2 different APP’s that are used with the Bushnell Nitro 1800:

  1. Bushnell Ballistics App – This is a FREE downloadable App available from Google Play. It is designed to let you input your Shooting Profile (DOPE) and upload it into the rangefinder unit.
  2. Applied Ballistics Ultralite App – This app is pre-installed in the Nitro 1800 unit. It has the capability of utilizing the data you input through the Bushnell Ballistics App. Its function is to calculate and provide shooting solutions in the display when you range a target.
Setting up your ballistics profile is easy enough to do by following this step-by-step VIDEO tutorial.


You can easily set up the rangefinder to display either MOA (minute or angle) or MIL Dot for your particular scope. This setting can be made using the rangefinder Mode button or it can be done while connected to your smartphone.

NOTE: There are also detailed printed instructions in the User Manual.

Bluetooth Connectivity

The Bushnell 6x24mm Nitro 1800 Rangefinder utilizes Bluetooth technology to interface with your Android or iOS Smart device. The purpose for this is to allow you to communicate with the rangefinder by using your easier-to-read smartphone display.

NOTE: One of the most common complaints with any Bluetooth-enabled rangefinder is difficulty making a connection. Keep in mind Bluetooth 5.2 works the same with a laser rangefinder as it does with any other device. With very few exceptions, any connection problem is the result of either poor line of sight or the software needs to be updated in one device or the other

The remedy is to simply remove any obstructions between devices. Or remove the battery and then reinstall it. This allows the device to update

Smartphone App

The first thing you would need to do is download the free Bushnell® App from Google Play.

Once installed on your Smart device you can go ahead and set up as many as 6 custom shooting profiles. This means you can program as many as 6 different rifles. Or, you could set up to 6 profiles with the same rifle with different ammo or weather variables.

This task can be accomplished at home or at the range because it doesn’t depend on an internet connection. Since only a Bluetooth connection is necessary, you can use your smartphone to interface with your Nitro 1800 while in the field.

In addition to setting up your profile/s, this feature lets you see ranging measurements and solutions on your phone display as well as the rangefinder display.

Watch this Brief Bushnell Product Demo

Operation

Operating the Bushnell Nitro 1800 is very straight forward but the included instructions should be studied first to avoid problems.

  • Activate Display: To activate the display simply depress the Power/Fire Button once while looking through the eyepiece. If the image is blurry, rotate the rubber diopter (eyecup) in either direction until the image is sharp.
  • Aiming and Range Reading: Place the “aiming circle” (center of the display) on the target that’s at minimum 5 to 6 yards away. Then, depress and hold down the Fire Button to take a range measurement. The further the distance the longer it takes for the range reading to be displayed (approx. 1 to 2 seconds). You will see the range reading just below the center (aiming circle) of the display. In the image to the right it shows 1238.0Y (Y=yards).Once you have acquired a range measurement, release the Fire Button. The 4 cross hairs (outside Aiming Circle) will go out which signals the laser is no longer transmitting a pulse. The display will remain ON for approximately 20 to 30 seconds displaying the last measurement before shutting off (for preserving the battery life).
  • New Range Reading: To range a new target or the same target depress the Fire Button again.
  • Scan Mode: To scan an area, slowly sweep the rangefinder view across an area while holding down the Fire Button. This will give you updated measurements as long as you hold down the Fire Button. You can scan multiple targets and you will see the crosshairs just outside the aiming circle flash indicating a scan mode.

Kestrel Ballistics Weather Meter Interfacing

Every experienced long-range shooter understands just how much weather variables can affect the point-of-impact of Kestrel 5700 Ballistics Weather Meter with LiNK 0857BLTANa projectile. This is especially true once you surpass the 500 yard range.

By combining the ranging capabilities of the Bushnell Nitro 1800 Rangefinder with the weather data analyzing capabilities of a Kestrel, you can have precise shooting solutions anywhere, anytime.

Instead of you depending on a local monitoring station for weather conditions and then inputting the info into the Nitro 1800, the Kestrel does it all for you – instantly.

The Kestrel 5700 Elite utilizes Applied Ballistics software which is the same as the App upgrade available with the Bushnell Nitro 1800. This highly sophisticated software can analyze Bullet Weight, Wind Velocity & Direction, Aerodynamic Jump, Spin Drift, Drop Scale factoring, and Coriolis Effect (rotation of the earth).

To use the Kestrel with your Nitro 1800 you would first establish a Bluetooth connection. Then, when you range a target the weather variables are calculated to provide a complete shooting solution. The hold-over and hold-off will be displayed on the Kestrel 5700 or the Bushnell Nitro 1800.

The Kestrel Elite Weather Meter 5700 is also available from Amazon. You can opt for any Kestrel 5000 series model but just make sure it is LINK Enabled.

Specs

  • Magnification: 6x eye piece / 24mm objective
  • Display Reticle: Black LED w/ Multiple Options
  • Battery Type: 3-Volt CR2 (Included)
  • Maximum Range: 2000 Yards
  • Reflective Range: Approx. 2000 YDS / 1189M
  • Tree Range: Approx. 1200 YDS / 732M
  • Deer Range: Approx. 800 YDS / 549M
  • Accuracy: +/- 1 YD
  • Length: 4.2 in. / 107mm
  • Width: 1.47 in. / 37mm
  • Height: 2.75 in. / 70mm
  • Weight: 5.7 oz / 162G
  • ARC Modes: Regular, Bow, and Rifle
  • Targeting Modes: Scan, Bullseye, Brush (yards, meters)
  • Lens Coating: Yes, EXO Barrier Water Resistance: IPX4

Summary

Bushnell’s Nitro 1800 Rangefinder puts precise long distance ranging capabilities within the reach of most shooters. With a powerful computing engine and one of the most advanced ballistics APPs, this high quality laser rangefinder delivers pin point measurements within + or – 1 yard. Shooting solutions out to 875 yards include hold-over as well as hold-off.

A software Upgrade is available to stretch the ballistics capability all the way out to 2000 yards. This makes the Elite 1800 an economical option for precision long range shooting competitions as well as for long range hunting.Bushnell 6x24mm Nitro 1800 Ballistic Rangefinder has lifetime warranty

Bluetooth technology allows you to connect to your SMART device for easy data input at home or in the field. Add critically important weather variables by teaming up with a Kestrel Weather Meter for the most precise shooting solutions possible.

The optics on this rangefinder are far superior to off-brand products in the same price range. I am impressed with the well-thought out design. Its very easy to operate with only 2 buttons. Programming the APP seems a bit intimidating at first but the included instructions walk you through each step.

My only criticism of the product is there is no 1/4″-20 tapped hole for tripod mounting. This doesn’t seem to be much of an issue when taking readings on very long range targets. I suspect Bushnell will offer an aftermarket solution in the near future.

The display isn’t lighted although there is no problem seeing the reticle even in fading light.

Pros

  • 2000 yard ranging capability
  • +/- 1 yard pin point accuracy
  • Powerful Applied Ballistics APP
  • Shooting solutions to 875 yards
  • Upgradable APP
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Kestrel compatible
  • Lifetime Warranty

Cons

  • Non-lighted display
  • No tripod mounting hole

Bottom Line

I am very pleased to finally see a reputable shooting optics manufacture offer a full-feature ballistics rangefinder with long range capabilities at a sensible price point. No, I’m not suggesting its the equal of the Sig Sauer KILO2400ABS but for anyone wanting to get into long range hunting or competition shooting this is a great way to get started.

Since this is such a new product there are very few customer reviews at this time. But, with Amazon’s 30 day money back policy and the generous Bushnell Lifetime Guarantee there’s nothing to loose by trying it out!

The ballistics capability not withstanding, I believe the Bushnell Nitro 1800 is currently the best 2000 yard rangefinder on the market.

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number five

Leupold RX-2800 TBR Laser Rangefinder

The new Leupold RX-2800 TBR is a Compact laser rangefinder with the latest laser ranging technology. It willLeupold RX-2800 TBR Laser Rangefinder accurately measure distances to targets out to 2,800 yards and further in most weather conditions.

Leupold – the Company

Established in 1907, the Leupold & Stephens, Inc. is an American manufacturer of sports optics equipment. Located in Beaverton, Oregon Leupold is highly recognized by outdoor sportsman for their line of quality binoculars, telescopic & red dot sights, spotting scopes, and laser rangefinders.

Overview

Featuring a machined aluminum chassis with a rubberized over molded body, the Leupold RX-2800 TBR Laser Rangefinder is rugged and easy to operate. This unit is ready for almost any hunting situation or weather condition with its waterproof build and fog proof lenses.

The RX-2800 TBR Laser Rangefinder is upgraded with True Ballistic Range (TBR-W) technology that accounts for Range to target, Slope Angle, Wind, and your selected Ballistics Group. Lightning fast measurements are shown on the High-Resolution Red OLED Display with each value arranged for easy reading.

Low Beam Divergence Technology

What impresses me the most about the Leupold RX-2800 TBR is its amazing accuracy. The reason this device is so accurate is because it incorporates Low Beam Divergence 1.2 x .5 MRAD technology. You can expect extraordinary +/- 1 yard accuracy out to 2,800 yards.

Previously, this break-through technology was only available on units costing upward to $2000. But now, it’s available on the Leupold RX-2800 TBR for less than $550 on sale.

Ballistic Software – Profiles

The Leupold RX-2800 TBR Laser Rangefinder does have ballistics software that allows you to select the Leupold RX-2800 TBR Laser Rangefinder utilizes TBR technologyfrom 25 different ballistic groups.  What this amounts to is Leopold uses the generic data from 25 of the most popular cartridge/rifle combinations to program their software.

The RX-2800 software utilizes TBR (True Ballistic Range) which calculates the angle of your shot and the “predictive path of bullet” to give you a hold-over solution. Keep in mind that bullets don’t travel in straight line.  Spin drift also becomes a significant factor, especially beyond 700 to 800 yards.  A 10 mph cross wind can also be selected for horizontal (windage) hold-offs.

These calculations should put you dead on provided the weather conditions are close to the pre-programmed data.

Customization

Unfortunately, there is no option to customize the Ballistic Groups with your own DOPE or ballistics profile. However, these pre-programmed Groups work very well for most hunting scenarios with the exception of varmint hunting.

You should be able to find a Group that matches almost any current cartridge/rifle set-up you might have. If you happen to hand load your ammunition to different velocities than the pre-programmed factory ammo data the corrections would of course be invalid.

Check Out this Excellent Overview VIDEO!

Operation

Another feature I really like about the Leupold RX-2800 TBR Rangefinder is its ease of operation. All functions are accessible with only (2) Buttons:

Button #1:

The button on the top is for activating the unit and taking range measurements. By simply sighting on a target and depressing the button a reading will appear in the display almost instantly. Depending on which Mode you have selected it will show either TBR or LOS range.Leupold RX-2800 TBR Laser Rangefinder is easy to operate and has multiple options to choose from

The TBR Mode (True Ballistic Range) takes into account the Angle of the shot and gives you the correct yardage. The LOS (straight line of sight) Mode just gives you the distance in a straight line measurement with no corrections..

By holding the top button the Scan Mode is activated for panning and ranging moving targets.

Button #2:

The button on the left side is for accessing the menu where you can choose Display Brightness, Range Modes, and Ballistic Group and other settings.

Specs:

  • Range: Deer-size animals 7 to 1100 yards, highly reflective targets to 2800 Yards
  • Accuracy: +/- 1 yard accuracy on reflective targets to 2800 yards, 2400 yards on trees, and 1100 yards on big game
  • Magnification: 7x magnification / 27 mil. Objective
  • Display: High-Resolution Red OLED Reticle and Values. 3 settings: Low, medium, and High
  • Slope Angle Correction: Yes
  • Bluetooth Capable: No
  • Hold-Over Values: Inches or Centimetres / Come-ups in MOA or MIL’s
  • Scan Mode: Yes
  • Water Proof & Fog proof: Yes
  • Power Source: 3V Lithium Typ CR2 battery. Approx. 4,000 measurements
  • Additional Features: 10 mph Crosswind Corrections, 25 pre-programmed Ballistic Groups, 10 mph Cross Wind calculation
  • Includes: Rangefinder, Manual, Lanyard, Cardura Holster w/ Belt Loop & Quick Reference Guide
  • Warranty: 2-year Electronics Warranty

Summary

The Leupold RX-2800 TBR is a feature-rich Compact laser range finder specifically designed for long range hunting. It provides measurements of +/- 1 yard accuracy out to 2800 yards on reflective targets. You can expect accurate measurements on big game as far as 1100 yards. And, up to 2400 yards on trees under suitable weather conditions.

The TBR (true ballistics range) software has 25 different Ballistic Groups to choose from. It your rifle/ammo platform matches the selected group it will provide you with dead-on solutions out to 600 yards and further under suitable environmental conditions.

You have the option (3) different reticles to choose from plus display brightness.  The diopter has a rubberized shade and can be quickly focused.

Pros

  • Highly accurate measurements
  • Lightning fast shooting solutions
  • 25 Popular ballistic Groups to choose from
  • Rugged built
  • Easy operation
  • Affordable price point

Cons

  • Non Bluetooth connectivity

Bottom Line

The Leupold RX-2800 TBR is the best stand-alone laser rangefinder for long range shooting.  It is best suited for the hunter who demands dead on accurate solutions for small to large game at long distances.

This rangefinder is rugged-built to withstand unfriendly outdoor environments. Its water proof/fog proof high quality optics won’t let you down when the weather gets wet.  Multiple lens coatings reduce glare and help bead water for easier viability in wet conditions.Leupold RX-2800 TBR Laser Rangefinder is designed for the long range shooter in rugged outdoor environments

Weighing in at only 9.9 ounces and its compact size make it easy to pack in your rifle case or pocket. Simple 2 button operation helps reduce confusion and frustration in those high pressure hunting situations.

Since this unit is not Bluetooth enabled it cannot be interfaced with a Kestrel Ballistics Weather Meter.  This limitation would make it unsuitable for precision long range shooting competitions that demand customized ballistic profiles for more accurate calculations.

Perhaps the most significant feature is the unrivaled ranging accuracy thanks to the Low Beam Divergence 1.2 x .5 MRAD technology. And, lightning-fast shooting solutions due to the state-of-the-art processing engine that allows you to get on target before it disappears.

I believe the most attractive feature of the Leupold RX-2800 TBR Laser Rangefinder is the surprisingly affordable price!

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Variables that Influence Rangefinder Performance

A laser range finder is a complex measuring device that can provide highly accurate distance readings under ideal conditions. However, there are physical and environmental variables that do affect their performance and accuracy that should be understood.

Reflectivity:

Targets that are highly reflective can be measured with the greatest accuracy with a laser rangefinder. A solid target such as a steel plate is more reflective than a deer covered with fur. Or, a brick wall has better reflectivity than a bush.

Color:

The color of a target is also a factor that affects the ability of a laser rangefinder to deliver an accurate measurement. The brighter the color of a target means the more accurate and longer distance the measurement. White is highly reflective compared to black and will enable the longest measurement.

Surface Texture and Finish:

The texture or smoothness of a target also affects a rangefinder’s measuring capability. A shiny finish can be measured more accurately and further than a rough irregular surface finish.

Target Size:

A small target is more difficult to range than a larger target.  At great distances the laser beam has spread out enough that it may actually be larger than a small target.  It becomes necessary to use a steady rest or tripod to keep the beam centered on the target.

Target Angle:

The position of a target as it relates to the path of a laser beam has a significant effect on ranging accuracy. If the target is exactly perpendicular (90 DEGREES) to the beam the greatest accuracy is possible. Any variation from perpendicular diminishes the accuracy.

Lighting Conditions:

The amount of available light plays a critical role in receiving an accurate measurement. A bright sunny day will decrease the units ranging capability. An overcast day increases the ranging capability of a laser rangefinder.

What to Look for When Choosing a Rangefinder for Long Range Shooting!

The latest generation of long range laser rangefinders are highly sophisticated devices. They can provide very precise distance measurements and other essential shooting information as well.

The most basic models designed specifically for the shooting sports include a Slope Angle function.

While other, more expensive units can analyze ballistic data and provide the shooter with a precise hold-over solution

Below are some other features I believe you should strongly consider before choosing a rangefinder:

Price

You may be debating on just how much you should invest in a rangefinder for your upcoming hunt.long range shooting with a rangefinder at the Arena, Blakely GA

The way I look at it is you probably already have well in excess of $2000 tied up in that precision long-range rifle and scope you intend to take with you.  Perhaps you have taken the time to level your scope and install an Anti-Cant Device.  You may have spent hours at the range zeroing in your scope and practicing your hold and trigger squeeze.

The hunting trip you have carefully planned for months might cost from $1000 up to $10,000 depending on where you’re going and whom you know. You have set your heart on returning home with a trophy buck or perhaps a Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep.

You realize there is a high probability you might only get a one shot opportunity. And to add to the equation there’s no way of knowing in advance the distance, slope angle, terrain, or weather conditions.

To me it makes sense to tilt the odds in your favor as much as possible. And the way to do that is to select a rangefinder with all the important features to make such a long shot possible.

A Word of Caution – Don’t Go the Cheap Route!

Its temping to latch on to one of the many low-priced models that claim to be able to range long distances.  Although it may technically be true, they typically only work under ideal conditions and the won’t give you and accurate measurement.  These “economy” rangefinders utilize the cheaper laser technology with wide beam divergence (spread of laser beam at target).  That means you might get a reading on an object 10 or 20 yards from your actual target.

And there’s a good chance that bargain must-have product will become inoperable in harsh weather conditions, just when you get that one shot opportunity of a lifetime.  And when something does go wrong, good luck with “customer service!”

Range Capability

The long range capabilities of the latest generation of rangefinders can accurately range highly reflective targets up to 4000 yards.

Deciding on the maximum range capability of the model you choose should be determined by the type of hunting or competitions you intend to use it for.  Its better to have more and not use it than not enough and need it.

Ballistic Rangefinder:

This type of rangefinder does more than just measure distance to a target.  These upgraded devices feature embedded software and a processor for analyzing ballistic components that can include bullet weight, velocity, barrel length, twixt, and environmental variables.  They can factor in the corrected range and provide the shooter with a precise shooting solution (hold-over, come-up, and hold-off).

Bluetooth Connectivity:

Some ballistic rangefinders have the capability to interface with a Smartphone with a downloaded App via a Bluetooth connection.  This enables the shooter to build a “Custom Ballistic Profile” with his/her own data.   Once complete the profile can be synchronized with the rangefinder.  This type of rangefinder is capable delivering highly accurate shooting solutions.

Some models can even pair with a Kestrel Ballistics Weather Meter to gather the data for humidity, wind, and atmospheric pressure.  This additional information can really help you make the most accurate long range shot possible.

Ballistic rangefinders are typically more expensive but are wonderful devices for the serious long range hunter or competitive shooter.

Alternative to a Ballistics Rangefinder

If you like the benefits of a ballistics rangefinder but don’t want to pay the extra there is a viable alternative.  Purchase a reliable laser rangefinder that will provide you with accurate measurements along with angle corrections.  Download the FREE Hornaday Ballistics Calculator 4DOF App from Google Apps Store to your Android or iOS Smartphone.  It is the best ballistics calculator on the market.  Set up your Profiles using your data.

When you got on a hunt or to the range take your smartphone along with you.  You won’t need cell service.  Range your target with your new laser rangefinder.  Open the Hornaday 4DOF App on your phone and input the range.  It will give you the most precise solution available with the exception of weather variables.

This alternative does take an extra minute or so to input your information so it might not be practical for certain applications.

Ethical Range Limitation

I believe the majority of hunters would agree it’s not practical or humane to shoot at game beyond 600 yards. I’m a pretty decent shot and can usually hold 8 inch groups at 1000 yards at a range. And if I miss it’s only a spent shell and a slight blow to my ego.

But taking a shot at an animal at that range or beyond is just a total disregard for its life and well-being (IMHO)!  Even if the animal doesn’t move the odds of making a humane shot are relatively slim, even for a fine marksman.

This is the reason why some manufactures design their models to only give complete solutions out to about 600 yards. So, if you intend to use your rangefinder for competitions that requires shooting beyond 600 yards, a model with an ethical limitation isn’t going to work.

However, knowing how far you might need to hike to get in position to take a shot is valuable information to have.  That’s why its a real benefit to choose a rangefinder with long range capabilities.

So, if you intend to use your rangefinder for shooting events that requires shooting beyond 1,000 yards, a model with an ethical limitation won’t work for you.

Ruggedness

All the high-tech features won’t do you much good if the case and the components are easily damaged.  Long range hunting often involves rugged terrain and a wide variety of weather conditions.  The rangefinder you select should be water and dust proof.  A rugged casing, preferably with over-molding for a more secure grip.

Magnification

A rangefinder serves another important purpose besides measuring distance to an object.  It can also serve as a spotting device to help you to clearly identify a target.

As rangefinders have become more powerful to reach out to long ranges their magnification has also increased for some models.  Older models came equipped with 4x to 6x magnification which may not be enough for someone with less than excellent eyesight.

The top rated models are available with 7x magnification that lets you see and identify objects at longer ranges.

Lens Quality

You probably already learned a lot about optics when choosing a scope for your rifle.  The quality of the lens on a rangefinder is important when ranging targets at extreme distances.  Don’t forget a rangefinder used for long distance shooting also serves as a primary or secondary spotting scope.  Its absolutely crucial to be able to clearly see what you’re ranging.

Lens Coatings

Lens coatings are extremely thin and fragile layers applied to the exterior of a lens. Their function is to enhance the light-gathering capability, improve contrast while reducing glare, improve visibility when wet by causing moisture to bead.  Lens coatings help protect the glass from scratching. Even in optimal weather conditions lens coatings are extremely important to be able to clearly see your target.

The best rangefinders for long range shooting should have multi-coated lenses for maximum protection and visibility.

Speed

It might seem obvious, but one of the most important issues to consider is speed. Long range shooting competitions are a balance of both speed and accuracy. The shooter must have an acute understanding of ballistics and to be able to determine the precise range to the target quickly.

The same is true for the long range hunter. A game animal has legs and usually doesn’t wait around very long for you to take a shot. You need to be able to determine the exact range almost instantly along with the necessary hold adjustments when the opportunity presents itself.

Make sure and consider the speed factor in a practical sense. Some rangefinder models can integrate with apps on your smartphone and with a Ballistics Weather Meter to give almost instantaneous and accurate information. That is a valuable feature if you have a second person with you to manage the equipment and feed you the information.

However, if you are mountain hunting on rugged steep terrain it might not be very practical. Your best shooting position could be having to balance yourself on a ledge or rocky outcrop. Trying to juggle 2 or 3 electronic devices while at the same time trying not to drop your expensive long-range rifle is not practical or safe.

Develop a Ballistics Profile (DOPE)

Every avid long-range shooter records their DOPE (data of previous engagements) for different target ranges on level terrain. In most cases noting bullet drop in increments of every 25 yards should be recorded to develop an accurate “Ballistics Profile.”

TIP:  When you are developing your shooting profile at the range its a smart idea to use your new rangefinder to double check the posted distance to the target.  Often times they can be off by as much as 5 yards.