Last Updated MAY 2018
Whether you use a bow or rifle, a laser rangefinder can help make your hunting trip a success.
These compact devices are extremely accurate at measuring distance, and most of them are affordably priced.
The following tips can help you find the best rangefinder for hunting.
While we can’t choose the right product for your next hunting trip, we can help you make an informed decision which is why we have the top rangefinders showcased below.
Bow Hunting Rangefinder Reviews
1. Bushnell Team Primos Review
Our Rating: 9
The Team Primos is often considered the best archery rangefinder, and it is not hard to see why. It is constructed from durable materials that have been rigorously tested, and it is also designed to be rainproof so you can use it in almost any weather conditions. The compact size allows it to fit easily in your pocket, and you will also appreciate the textured grip that ensures the rangefinder stays securely in your hands. It also comes with a convenient access panel so you can easily change the battery when needed.
What really sets this laser rangefinder apart from other models is its ability to quickly and accurately calculate distance, even at an angle. When Team Primos is in “Bow Mode” it uses Bushnell’s innovative ARC technology so you always know exactly which pin to use whether it is 7 or 199 yards. This rangefinder will also accurately calculate the distance to targets up to 850 yards away. With the Team Primos you don’t even have to be able to see your target in order to make an accurate shot, especially when you have the advantage of 4x the magnification.
The single button ensures that this laser rangefinder is simple to use, so you can concentrate on the target. It also comes with a convenient neck strap and protective case, along with a battery so you can use the rangefinder right out of the box.
2. Vortex Ranger 1000 Review
Our Rating: 9.7
If you need something a little more powerful that is also designed to withstand rugged outdoor conditions, the Ranger 1000 might be just what you are looking for. It is wrapped in a protective rubber casing that is durable, lightweight and able to prevent damage to the rangefinder. It also comes with a textured designed so you securely grasp the Ranger 1000, even with wet hands. O-ring seals prevent water and moisture from getting inside, along with dust and dirt. This ensures that you will always be able to clearly see the target, regardless of the weather conditions.
The lens is fully multi-coated so you can always rely on crisp, bright images, and since you also have the advantage of the O-ring seals you never have to worry about your visibility being limited due to fog or moisture inside the rangefinder. The diopter allows you to adjust the focus for precise viewing, and with a range capability up to 1,000 yards there are very few targets that you won’t be able to see. Bowhunters will appreciate the mode for horizontal lines of sight, and there is also a setting that will let you scan in meters or yards.
3. Leica Rangemaster CRF 1600-B Review
Our Rating: 9.1
This laser rangefinder from Leica is designed to be easy to use, and convenient to take with you on any hunting trip. Its compact and lightweight construction allows it to fit easily in your pocket, and it is also designed to withstand most weather conditions. Since the lens is manufactured by Leica you know that it will be capable of clearly sighting distant targets, and the CRF 1600-B has a range of 1,600 yards. This allows you to easily aim at prey that would normally be too far away for you to see. The lens is also covered with a waterproof coating so rain and snow won’t interfere with your field of vision.
While this laser rangefinder is incredibly easy to use, it also comes with several innovative features. You will appreciate the advanced ballistic compensation setting that will help you determine distance and trajectory based on air temperature and pressure, along with the angle. This will help ensure that your shot will be right on target, regardless of outside conditions. There is also a mode designed for use with a bow, along with one that will scan the area to ensure that you did not miss any potential targets. Lightweight, accurate and easy to use, this rangefinder from Leica might be what you need on your next hunting trip.
4. Leupold RX-1000i Review
Our Rating: 8.5
If you need a higher magnification, but don’t want to sacrifice your field of view the RX-1000l from Leupold might be just what you are looking for. It comes with 6x magnification so you have plenty of power to sight in on your prey, and it still has a wide view so you can easily track movements as you are taking aim. You will be able to see crystal clear images up to 800 yards with this rangefinder, which is more than enough for most types of hunting rifles.
The OLED display ensures that the numbers are easy to read in almost any lighting, and you can adjust the brightness as needed. The built in inclinometer makes it easy to adjust your shots for angles and inclines, which is always an advantage whether you are hunting with a bow or a rifle. The textured grip ensures that the rangefinder stays firmly in your grasp, even when wet, and it also comes with a small panel that provides convenient access to the battery. Designed for all types of hunters in almost any environment, this rangefinder from Leupold can make it easier for you to hit your intended target.
5. Simmons 801600 Review
Our Rating: 8.3
Simmons has designed this rangefinder to be easy to operate and convenient to carry so you can take it with you on any hunting trip. It features a lightweight and compact design that fits easily into a pocket or backpack, and it comes with a weatherproof construction that is resistant to rain and snow. With the press of a single button the rangefinder will instantly calculate the distance to a target from 10 yards up to 600 yards away, and display the readings on the built in LED screen so you know exactly where to aim.
Not only is this laser rangefinder from Simmons incredibly easy to use, it also comes with 4x magnification so targets appear crisp and clear. With the ability to see distant targets clearly up close, it will be easy to make any hunting trip a success. It is also compatible with 9 volt batteries, and comes with a convenient light that will indicate when the power is running low. Lightweight, accurate and affordable, this laser rangefinder is a great option for beginners and experienced hunters.
How can rangefinders help the hunter
Modern rangefinders are designed to be easy to operate, simply press a button and the distance to the target will be displayed in yards or meters on the built in digital display. These devices use a clock to track the amount of time it takes for the laser beam to reach your target and bounce back, which is then calculated into distance. Most modern rangefinders are capable of accurately calculating distance within 1 yard or so, and this information can be critical if you are hunting with a bow.
Bowhunters often find themselves shooting at an angle which can affect how the distance to the target is perceived, especially if they are up in a tree stand. This can cause targets to appear farther away than they actually are, and a laser rangefinder will ensure that you don’t overshoot.
The range capabilities of these devices can vary depending on the weapon you are using, and your target. If you are using a rifle during hunting season you want a rangefinder that is at least accurate up to 600 to 1,200 yards, while archers should choose one that is able to calculate distances at 800 yards. Rocks and other hard objects can be detected at greater distances than live targets so you can plan your shot and aim accurately.
With the right rangefinder rifle and bowhunters can improve the accuracy of their shots, regardless of the elevation or the terrain.
Choosing the right hunting rangefinder- What to look for
A rangefinder can help keep your shots accurate, even at a distance. It can help you gauge and correct your shots for terrain and elevation, and there are several makes and models to choose from. Before you start looking for a rangefinder there are a few factors to consider, and the tips below can help you make a smart purchasing decision.
1. Budget and Quality
When you are looking for the best hunting rangefinder one of the first aspects to consider is your budget, but it is also important to remember to check for quality. In general optical hunting gear will be priced according to its quality, which means that often times you will get exactly what you pay for.
Deciding on a spending limit will help you narrow down your options so it will be easier for you to make a decision. The maximum range and included features will also be determined by your budget, and it is important to consider whether you are hunting with a bow or a rifle. If you are using a bow you might want a rangefinder that can also measure horizontal distance so you can compensate for gravity when you are firing from a tree stand. Rifle users will probably want to pay a little extra for a rangefinder that is capable of measuring distances up to 1,200 yards or more. While these features might cost a little more, it is worth it to ensure that you get the right rangefinder for your type and style of hunting.
Most hunters rely on laser rangefinders to measure the distance to the target, but there are also optical and ultrasonic models. Laser rangefinders track the amount of time it takes for the infrared light to travel to the target and back, and the distance is clearly displayed on a small built in screen. Since the speed of light is always constant laser rangefinders are incredibly accurate, but the distance these devices are able to calculate will depend on the type of target.
Optical rangefinders employ mirrors to measure the distance, which is then displayed on a dial. The mirrors reflect two images which are rotated until only one target is shown. These devices are not used as often out in the field since it does take time to merge the images and display the distance to the target, but an optical rangefinder is often inexpensively priced and can improve your chances of hitting stationary targets that are farther away. Just remember that you will need time and some patience to use an optical rangefinder.
You can also find ultrasonic rangefinders, but these devices are usually not recommended for use by hunters since the slightest noise can affect its accuracy. Ultrasonic rangefinders send out sound waves that are generated by the transducer. The sound waves will bounce off of the target and the signal will be detected by the handheld device which then measures the distance. While an ultrasonic rangefinder can be extremely accurate, it is important to remember that birds, wind, rain, and other common outdoor noises will interfere with the sound waves making the distance readings useless. It is also difficult to accurately measure horizontal distances with these types of rangefinders, unless you hold the device at the perfect angle. This often makes these devices impractical for bowhunters to use when they are in a tree stand.
The most important aspect to consider are the optics, and you don’t want to try and save money by purchasing a rangefinder with inferior optics. This refers to the magnification, range, and ability to compensate for angles. If the device is not capable of detecting the target and accurately measuring the distance, regardless of elevation, your new rangefinder will quickly become an expensive purchasing mistake.
If you frequently need to make accurate long distance shots then you want to choose one that has a range capability of 1,000 yards or more. This will ensure that you can accurately sight and measure the long distance you need to make a humane killing shot. It is also important to remember that most manufacturers calculate maximum range in ideal weather conditions, which means if it is overcast or rainy distance capabilities will be noticeably lower.
Angle compensation is another important consideration, unless you always plan on aiming from flat and level terrain. Since the chances of you never having to deal with a hill or fire down from a tree stand are slim, you will want to choose a rangefinder that is capable of calculating distances at an angle. While it is possible to perform these same calculations by hand, you run the risk of losing sight of your target. Knowing how high to aim the rifle or bow can be the difference between hitting the prey or wasting a shot.
The magnification of the lens will determine how clearly you can see the target, and this can be important when you are trying to sight at a distance. Most affordably priced models have a magnification range between 4 x up to 8 x, which is usually enough to allow you to sight in on a target without interfering with your field of view. If you need a rangefinder with a higher magnification, it should be noted that you might lose some of your field of vision. This can make it difficult for you to see potential targets off to the side, along with significantly increasing the price of the rangefinder.
When you are looking at the optics on a rangefinder the lens should also be considered, and there are a few types to choose from. While all models come with an optical lens, the coating can vary. This will affect how much light is allowed through the lens which determines how crisp and clear the target appears. The type, amount and location of the coating will also affect the price of the rangefinder, along with how it can best be used.
There are four types of coating generally applied to lenses. Coated lenses are covered on one surface, while fully-coated have a single layer applied to both sides. There are also multiple coated and fully multi-coated lenses that are capable of allowing plenty of light through for crisp, clear images, but this does come at a higher price. If you often find yourself trying to measure the distance to a target in a dark forested area it might be worth it to pay extra for a rangefinder with a multiple coated lens, but if you are constantly sighting in bright light a less expensive device with a coated or fully-coated lens will probably be the best choice for you.
You also want to think about the size of the lens, which will also affect the price of the rangefinder. Larger lenses are priced higher, but do allow more light in without restricting your field of vision. The downside to the larger lens size is that it can add additional weight to the rangefinder, and make it less convenient to carry. Unless you plan a spending the entire day sitting in a blind or tree stand, a rangefinder with a smaller lens is probably all you need to successfully hit the target.
4. Size and Ease of Use
Even if you plan on going on an extended hunting trip you still don’t want to have to carry around a lot of gear, especially if you are going to be climbing up into a tree stand. Most modern rangefinders are designed to be lightweight and compact so you can easily tuck it into your pocket or backpack. Along with the overall design of the rangefinder, the lens and battery will also affect size and weight.
While you want the rangefinder to be large enough for you to easily operate the buttons, you don’t want to have to struggle to pack it with the rest of your gear. Since most rangefinders for hunting are already compact, this is usually not something you really need to worry about. Larger lenses can weigh more and will affect the size, but if you don’t need to allow the maximum amount of light through to clearly see your target you can save money and lighten your load with a smaller rangefinder. In most cases the battery is already designed to be compact and lightweight, and will only need to be charged or replaced once a year.
Most compact rangefinders are also designed to be easy to use so you can concentrate on lining up your shot, and not on working the device. The best rangefinder for bow hunting or rifles will simply require you to press a button after you have sighted the target, and then glance at the small LCD screen to see the distance clearly displayed. There are higher priced rangefinders that come with additional features that will calculate other factors, but in most cases you simply need to know how much to adjust for elevation and distance so you can quickly hit the target before it moves.
A rangefinder can make it easier for you to accurately hit your target, even at a distance. Most models designed for bow and rifle hunters are easy to use and pack with the rest of your gear, and some even come with a convenient neck strap and protective carrying case. While knowing the exact distance to the target might not seem like something that you need to know, it can make the difference between a missed shot and a successful hunting trip. Now that you know exactly what you need from a rangefinder, finding the right one for you should be relatively quick and easy.