Bowhunting is considered a close-quarters shooting activity; this might, at first glance, suggest that the need for precision shooting is less critical than in rifle hunting, where you can shoot game up to 1200 yards. But we all know that’s not the case. Rangefinders are essential to any archer who wants to find success in a bow hunt.
The competition among rangefinder manufacturers has been pretty intense. They’ve constantly been bringing out newer products boasting much greater distances than the previous generation. This arms race has pushed the boundaries for what was once considered possible with these devices. For the consumer, this pursuit of range has been great.
But, the current trend suggests that manufacturers are dialing back these ranges to appeal to bow hunters, as they don’t really need those extreme ranges. The best rangefinders for hunting with a bow include features that can indicate the arc of your arrow flight, help you detect limb deflection, and measure the amount of power in your shot at various distances.
- Best Bowhunting Rangefinders for 2022 With Reviews
- 1. Bushnell The Truth Arc – Best for bowhunting
- 2. Vortex Ranger 1000 – The best hunting rangefinder
- 3. Leica Rangemaster CRF 1600-B – Quality product
- 4. Simmons 801600 – Great range finder for bow hunting
- 5. OGL Wild Hunting – If you count every penny
- 6. TecTecTec ProWild – Best Value Hunting Rangefinder
- 7. Bushnell Bone Collector – Inexpensive and accurate for short ranges
- How can a rangefinder help you in the hunting field
- Choosing the right hunting rangefinder- What to look for
Best Bowhunting Rangefinders for 2022 With Reviews
1. Bushnell The Truth Arc – Best for bowhunting
- A plethora of features make this model stand out, such as the ClearShot technology and ARC
- Bowhunters will appreciate the presence of a Bow mode specifically for them
- It comes equipped with excellent optics for crystal-clear imagery
- Although the manufacturer includes a CR2 battery to use the unit, you must bear in mind that such batteries are not that common
Bowhunters will surely like the Bushnell 202442 The Truth ARC as it has features that cater to their needs in particular. That said, this doesn’t mean that this model from Bushnell is not fit for other hunters. The Clear Shot technology, along with the ARC feature, make this model a winner in many users’ books, as it provides excellent accuracy and high overall performance. The vertical operation makes it convenient, too, and you might find that your skills as a hunter receive an extra boost when you’re using the Bushnell 202442. Let’s see what makes this rangefinder such a great option.
Specs at a glance
The magnification on this model is 4x, so it is not the greatest, but the manufacturer compensates by giving this model a huge 850-yard range, something that you usually find on much more expensive rangefinders. It works with CR2 batteries, and the required one to work out of the box is included. The diameter of the objective lens is 20mm, so that is pretty standard for this type of product. What makes it so great is the number of features included that make hunting a delightful experience.
Range and other performance features
With a range that goes from 7 yards to 850 yards, the Bushnell 202442 doesn’t have to worry about the competition. Of course, the longer end of this scale applies to highly reflective objects, but, still, for anything else, you get a substantial 600-yard range, while for deer, you can expect to calculate distances fast and easy up to 200 yards. The accuracy on this unit is outstanding, as well, and within just one yard.
Besides excellent range, this model also offers some attractive extra features that make it a pleasure to use. The ClearShot function will give you clearance for a shot in an instant, so you can get that clear line of shot without worrying about obstacles in the way. Calibrating the feature may take a little time, but the results will be outstanding.
Another great feature that will enthrall bowhunters is the ARC – angle range compensation. Uphill or downhill shots will no longer be an issue because you will get a clear idea of the distance between you and your target.
The model also comes with a Bow mode that gives you clear information on the correct horizontal distance between you and your prey for distances up to 99 yards. All these extras make this particular model a hit with bowhunters everywhere, and that is why it is highly recommended for those who prefer a bow as their hunting weapon.
The model comes equipped with high-quality optics that provide HD performance. While the magnification is only 4x, the overall results you get when looking through the rangefinder are enough to justify that this model delivers as far as optics are concerned. The 20mm lens diameter manages decent enough light gathering abilities so that you can still see even when the lighting conditions are less than ideal.
Although the Bushnell 202442 is not 100% waterproof, its casing is rainproof, which means that splashes of water or the natural moisture that occurs when the skies are pouring, and you’re out in the wild will not affect the delicate mechanisms located inside. You can securely take this rangefinder with you when it’s raining, as it will encounter no issues. The casing is also durable and has a non-slip texture that makes this model even more convenient to use in less than ideal weather conditions.
It is essential to take a look at what extras are included with your purchase when you go shopping for a rangefinder. In this case, you get a carrying case, a neck strap for convenience, and a CR2 battery. Seeing how the latter are not that common, it is quite thoughtful of the manufacturer to include the required one.
An impressive sum of benefits and features recommend this model from Bushnell. As expected, the optics on this model are superior, and you will get crystal clear images when you’re using the unit. As a rangefinder, it has excellent range, accuracy, and speed, but what matters most is that it comes equipped with superior performance features. The ClearShot technology, as well as ARC and the unique Bow model, allow hunters to get the most accurate line of shot and achieve the results they want without any troubles.
2. Vortex Ranger 1000 – The best hunting rangefinder
- It is water-resistant and fog proof, for excellent performance in bad weather
- The adjustable utility clip makes it easy to access
- The high range of 1,000 yards indicates a unit for seasoned hunters
- It works with CR2 batteries, and those are not easy to find
One of the most critical aspects that make this model a good pick especially for a beginner is its ease of use. The manufacturer has the same model available in various range options, but the one we are going to talk about now has a range of 1,000 yards, something that is quite outstanding in itself seeing how many other rangefinders on the market don’t come even close to this value. To make things clear, the 1,000-yard option has the lowest range in the series, so it can be said that it is the entry level. Any other model, in a different range, you may want to get, will share the same outstanding features and performance.
Specs at a glance
A good idea would be to start by looking at the specs provided by the manufacturer. The range goes from 11 yards to 1,000 yards, and for deer, the range can go as high as 500 yards. You get a maximum angle reading of 60 degrees, plus and minus, which means you can easily scan the surroundings. The magnification provided is 6x, which comes in handy at such distances, while the lens diameter for the objective is 22mm. The linear field of view is 315 feet at 1,000 yards, while the angular field of view is six degrees. It can withstand high and low temperatures, between 14F and 131F, and it weighs around 7.7 ounces.
Range and scanning power
Since we’re talking about a rangefinder, let’s focus on its capabilities in this area for a while. The 1,000-yard range is pretty good and gives you plenty of options as a hunter. The device comes with an HDC mode that compensates angles for the distances read to provide accurate results. You will find the display easy to use, and navigating through the various options granted is straightforward, as well.
The advanced LOS function will allow you to calculate distances with high accuracy. The error is plus-minus three yards at large distances, so pretty accurate. What matters is that this model also comes with a scan feature. That means you can follow a moving target and get readings of the distance between you and the target.
The display is illuminated and has three brightness settings so that you can adjust it for any conditions possible. Talking about optics, the model comes with fully multi-coated lenses. That means that light transmission is superior and you get exactly what you need to identify targets at large distances from you.
You will be pleased to learn that this model is well-equipped for severe weather. It is water-resistant and fog proof, so there will be no issues to worry about when using your rangefinder in less-than-ideal weather conditions. Customers who have already tried this model are also impressed with the texturized armor that provides a non-slip grip. The risk of damaging your rangefinder by accident is significantly reduced, and you can count on this model as a durable unit. Seeing how it is lightweight and easy to carry around, the model is an excellent all-around product that you will want to have by your side when out in the wild.
Seeing how any hunting equipment can be treated as an investment, it is essential to learn what extras are included with your purchase. While some manufacturers offer just a barebones package that doesn’t add anything else besides the rangefinder, that is not the case this time. The model is sold with a soft carry case that will allow you to keep it in excellent condition when traveling.
You will also get a utility clip so you can mount your rangefinder on a belt, pocket, or other surfaces with flat edges. Keeping your rangefinder close by is easy due to this particular extra. Also, you will receive a neck lanyard in case that’s the preferred way of carrying your rangefinder around. It must be noted that the manufacturer also includes a CR2 battery.
This rangefinder from Vortex Optics comes highly recommended, as a simple look at the specs will tell you that it is superior to many others on the market right now. The long-range distance, coupled with the fact that the model also has a scan mode, allows you to easily track your prey. Also, you will receive some nice extras with your purchase, and the rangefinder comes ready to use out of the box.
3. Leica Rangemaster CRF 1600-B – Quality product
- The fantastic range of up to 1,600 yards
- You will get multiple extra modes for convenience
- Premium quality optics deliver excellent image quality
- It is expensive, and, for the price, it doesn’t come along with some useful extras
If you are looking for a rangefinder that offers scan abilities, and also comes equipped with excellent optics, you will discover that this model from Leica pretty much checks all the boxes. You will be pleased with this weather-resistant model, and also with the fact that it can take a lot of wear and tear. We would add that something like this should be expected for the price, seeing that the Rangemaster is far from being cheap. However, if you are looking to invest in a rangefinder that provides superior performance and money is not an issue, we recommend this model.
Specs at a glance
A simple look at the specs reveals that his model is a good option for a seasoned hunter. Reasonably portable and weighing just 7.7 ounces, it is the kind of rangefinder for which you can quickly find a place, be it in a pocket or a rucksack. As the materials used for the body are die-cast aluminum and carbon fiber, you can expect it to be quite durable, something that Leica has gotten its customers used to, as all the products it makes are reliable like this.
Featuring 7x magnification and an objective lens of 24mm in diameter, it offers a higher performance when compared to other models. It uses a Class 1 laser that is safe for the human eye and has a measuring range that goes up to 1597 yards.
Range and other performance features
The rounded range for this unit is 1600 yards, starting from 11 yards. However, you must bear in mind that this value applies only to highly reflective targets. Nonetheless, the Rangemaster proves that it deserves its name, as anything else that isn’t reflected can be spotted and calculated the distance for, at 1,000 yards. Even deer can be identified at ranges of up to 700 yards, which is something that cannot easily be said about other rangefinders available.
The accuracy varies as you go further. Up to 500 yards, the error is within +/- one yard, doubling for distances as high as 1,000 yards. After that, the error becomes a percentage of the range – +/-0.5% yards.
Some highly recommend this model even if you cannot say you’re impressed. For instance, once you press the second button on the unit, you will receive many useful details, such as the angle, the temperature, and the atmospheric pressure. For a seasoned hunter, all this data might provide necessary input for making the following decisions.
The Rangemaster also has multiple modes, such as scan, for determining the distance from a target on the move, and the ballistic curve mode that established extra details for increased shot accuracy. Of course, the kind of ammunition you used will play a role in getting this mode to work accurately.
The Rangemaster offers good-quality optics with a roof prism system and a 24mm lens. The eye relief of 15mm is convenient and can help people with glasses to get the maximum out of using this particular model. The lens is coated with AquaDura, HDC, and it is also phase coated, so the overall optics capabilities are superior.
Even in low light conditions, you will be able to read the LED display that performs well in any circumstances. The image you will get is also sharp, while the field of view of 345 feet at 1,000 yards is also satisfactory. The focusing abilities are superior, also, and you will get a model with fast, accurate operation.
You can rest assured that this model will last for a long time, bringing peace of mind, seeing how it is not cheap. The Rangemaster is waterproof and fog proof, something that cannot be said about many models on the market. You can even immerse it in water for half an hour and still notice no problems.
One downside of this expensive model is that it doesn’t come with many extras. However, you will get a high-quality carrying case made of Cordura that will protect the rangefinder and keep it in pristine condition for the next time you want to use it.
The Rangemaster from Leica is not a cheap model, but it has performance features that make it worth the expense. Its range can go as high as 1600 yards, and it has unique modes that calculate the angle between you and your target, for the most accurate readings. As expected from Leica, the optics quality is superior, and overall, you will feel satisfied with using this product.
4. Simmons 801600 – Great range finder for bow hunting
- It has a good range of up to 600 yards
- The Tilt Intelligence feature will calculate the true distance between you and your target
- It works with a standard 9-Volt battery
- It is only a barebones product, and it doesn’t offer some expected extras, such as a carrying pouch and a lanyard
Should you be a hunter shopping on a budget for a rangefinder, you will find the Simmons 801600 Volt 600 a pretty decent choice. With detection range for calculating distances between you and your prey of up to 600 yards, it is a reasonably good pick, and it also comes with other specifications that will convince you that it is a good option for your needs. It is easy to use, as it has a one-button operation that anyone, including beginners, will find optimal and handy.
Specs at a glance
The specs tell us a few critical aspects of this particular model. It has a magnification of only 4x, which is inferior to other models on the market, but let’s not forget that it is an inexpensive unit, so such things are expected. The range goes from 10 to 600 yards, which is commendable for a cheap product, and the one-yard accuracy adds value. Depending on your needs, you can have the unit measure the distance for you in yards or meters. It works with a Class 1 laser that is safe for the human eye, so you will have nothing to worry about. The total body weight is 9 ounces because it works with a 9-Volt battery, which is quite common and easy to find but somewhat heavier than what other rangefinders use.
Range and other performance features
When talking about rangefinders, the first thing on the list should be the range. If that is satisfactory, then everything else comes as secondary considerations. In this case, you will be pleased to learn that the Simmons model has a top range of 600 yards. It may not be outstanding, but it is not a bad number, either, because you will not break the bank to purchase this model.
One of the most critical features is called Tilt Intelligence. It works pretty much as an angle compensation feature to give you accurate readings when there’s a slope or a hill between you and your target. When you have to deal with targets for which you need the true horizontal distance, the unit will be able to calculate the range accurately. You will find the yardage for the angle compensation displayed under the line of sight value.
The vertical design makes it particularly comfortable. It also makes the unit lightweight, compact, and easy to carry around. While the 9 ounces for its body mass may be slightly more than what you can see in high-performance models, such a weight is still comfortable for any user.
The 4x magnification power may not be superior to other models on the market, but it delivers results nonetheless. Your rangefinder comes equipped with a 20mm lens which will provide you with a clear enough image. The optics are advertised as crystal clear, and there seem to be no complaints from users in this respect.
The manufacturer says that this unit is weather-resistant, but you should understand that submerging the rangefinder in water is not okay. Actually, it is not safe to expose your unit to a light drizzle, as it doesn’t have waterproof features. Nonetheless, it is a durable model, and you might end up using it for a long time without a problem if you bear its limitations in mind.
The package delivered with your purchase is pretty barebones, so this is another thing that you should remember before placing your order. There is no lanyard included with your purchase, although the unit has a hole for it, so you will be able to attach one as long as you are willing to buy it separately. The model is not sold with a carrying pouch so, again, if that’s something you need, you should be disposed to shell out the money for such an extra. A lot can be forgiven for the low price tag this model comes with, and the lack of extras is part of it.
As long as you are not looking for a fancy rangefinder, this model from Simmons might be right up your alley. It doesn’t come with many bells and whistles, but it has a decent range of up to 600 yards and also has a feature that acts as an angle compensation functionality. It is weather-resistant, without being waterproof, and its vertical design makes it comfortable.
- The range and power of this unit guarantee that you will always get accurate results when scanning your surroundings
- The weatherproof body makes it the ideal companion for all your outdoor adventures, no matter if you go hunting, hiking, or camping
- You will receive several useful accessories that will help you make the best out of your rangefinder
- The required battery is not included with your purchase
If you intend to get a laser rangefinder, the OGL Wild Hunting is an option to consider due to the attractive specs, overall performance, and good standing with customers. What you need in your laser rangefinder, most and foremost, is the ability to establish and provide proper measurements for the distance between you and your target. This can dramatically increase your success rate, which is why this model is highly recommended. Besides doing its job at the highest parameters and standards, the OGL Wild Hunting also offers other benefits, and we will talk about them immediately.
Specs at a glance
The first things you will learn about this model will come from the specs offered by the manufacturer. This model has a magnification of 6x and can provide measurements for distances between 5 yards and 540 yards. It is a pretty good investment capable of working in weather conditions that go from cold to hot. This model will behave well if you want to hunt in below-freezing temperatures or scorching-hot conditions. A scan mode is included, and the battery type required is CR2/3V. The model has a low-power indicator that will tell you when to recharge it.
Range and scanning power
What you need your rangefinder to be able to do is to measure the distances between you and your prey in a correct manner. This model from ogl offers reliable performance, as it is capable of taking measurements fast with just a one-yard accuracy error in both directions. Also, you will get a range of 540 yards that the unit will scan using its advanced speed technology. All in all, this model is a high-performance rangefinder that will deliver as needed, in all weather conditions.
Seeing how rangefinders have an optical component that matters, it is a good idea to talk about the lens quality next. In this case, the Ailink Wild Hunting comes along with an ultra-clear lens that will allow you to see everything in the range distance mentioned earlier. The fact that the optics are multilayered also helps with the overall image quality, and you will like that the lens display has some useful information provided directly in front of your eyes. You will not only read the distance, but you will also be able to see the battery meter.
Any hunter wants to know that his or her equipment will be able to provide some resistance to wear and tear, as well as inclement weather. That being the case, you will be pleased that this laser rangefinder has a durable body that is resistant to both water and dust. Seeing how it is also designed to resist freezing temperatures as well as those that go well into dangerous heat levels, it is safe to say that this is a pretty strong pick for even the most demanding hunter. Seeing how this model weighs less than half a pound, you will find it very comfortable to carry around. It is also compact so that you can easily find a place for it in your backpack.
Many hunters also want to know if the rangefinder they pick comes with some extras, as they can save some money in this manner. For this particular model, the manufacturer includes a case and a lanyard, which means that you can carry it around without a problem. The strap lets you wrap it around your wrist so that you don’t risk losing it, and the cleaning cloth made from microfiber will keep the lens crystal clear. A quick start guide is included with your purchase, as well as a 2-year guarantee.
This excellent rangefinder is a superior ally when hunting in the field. It is also suitable for passionate golfers, and practically, any activity requiring range measurements will benefit from this reliable model. As it is lightweight and easy to carry around, it is a smart addition to the gear you already carry, and even a carrying pouch and a strap are included for maximum convenience. Of course, you will appreciate that the unit can scan your surroundings quickly to give accurate measurements for the distances between you and your targets.
6. TecTecTec ProWild – Best Value Hunting Rangefinder
- It has a decent range of 540 yards and scan and speed modes
- You get a lanyard and a carrying case with your purchase
- It is resistant to dust, water splashes, and even severe weather
- At distances shorter than 50 yards, it might not be as accurate as you expect it to be
At first look, the most critical selling point of this model seems to be the price tag, seeing how this manufacturer manages to offer a rangefinder that doesn’t ask you to break the bank while, at the same time, offers pretty decent performance. This model will not only manage to calculate the distance between you and your target, but it will also take speed measurements, something that any hunter can appreciate as being a pretty useful feature.
Specs at a glance
Featuring a magnification power of 6x, this rangefinder is pretty standard and on par with models that are even more expensive. The 24mm objective lens is adequate for hunting wild animals, and it keeps the model’s size compact and easy to carry around. The measuring system is very useful and delivers results in both yards and meters for maximum convenience. Using a line of sight for calculating distances, it doesn’t have any slope compensation features, and it might not be a good option for a golfer. However, it is an ideal pick for a hunter, especially seeing how decently it is priced.
Range and scanning power
You can’t go wrong with a product that offers such great functionalities in a compact body. First of all, the range of the unit is 540 yards, and while it might not deliver incredible results at distances under 50 yards, its capabilities can go as low as 10 yards. You won’t have to worry about accuracy, as the model has a maximum error of one yard, so you get a clear idea of the distance between you and your target.
Using the scan mode is convenient, as well. Also, because the model comes with advanced speed technology, you will have all your measurements updated on the go and know how fast your target moves. Experienced hunters can tell you that such data is invaluable and can make or break the success of a hunting trip.
The multilayered optics are of good quality and contribute to making this particular unit an option for a hunter who doesn’t want to spend a lot of money on an expensive rangefinder. On display, you will be able to read the distance between you and your target, and you will also notice the battery meter right in front of your eyes so that you know when to replace it. The continuous measurement mode provides fast results, which matters most.
Don’t expect this unit to be waterproof, but bear in mind that it is water resistant, so a few water splashes will not damage its components. At the same time, it is fog proof, which means that its performance will not be badly influenced by the weather. However, like any other laser rangefinder, heavy rain or fog will disturb the ray path, which is when you might get some inaccurate readings. It is also durable and resistant to dust, and you’ll appreciate that it is lightweight and easy to carry around. Hunters will surely have a blast with this one.
Unlike other models that don’t include a battery, this one comes with an included CR2 battery, allowing you to start using the rangefinder as soon as it is delivered to your door. You will also like that a wrist strap is included so you can leave the rangefinder hanging on your arm while freeing your hands for other tasks. You will receive a carrying pouch for easy transportation, a cleaning cloth for the lens made from microfiber, and a quick start guide. Customers get a one-year warranty with their purchases, as well.
You might not find fancy functionalities on this model, such as slope compensation or a flag lock mode, but you will get everything you expect in a laser rangefinder geared directly toward hunting. Instead of trying to do multiple things without doing one right, this model focuses on giving you accurate and fast measurements when hunting and does it well. Seeing how it is sold with multiple extras, it is quite a good deal, given the attractive price. The date provided by this unit is handy for increasing your accuracy as a shooter.
- It is fast and accurate, with errors within just one yard
- The weather-resistant casing is very durable and ensures that you’re making a sound investment if you get this model
- Many users appreciate the long eye relief that allows them to use this rangefinder even with glasses
- You don’t get advanced speed technology and other functionalities that cater specifically to hunters, so you cannot use it just for anything you might have in mind.
Bushnell is well known for making a wide range of optics that cater to hunters, and the Bushnell 202208 Bone Collector is one of the popular options available. Whether you hunt with a gun or a bow, you will find this model a good companion when out in the wild. It is a 2-in-1 product since it is a monocular and a rangefinder in the same casing. Knowing more about what makes this model stand out from the crowd will help you decide whether the Bone Collector is a good option for you.
Specs at a glance
Let’s see first what this model does, as the manufacturer’s specifications inform us. Bear in mind that this is a model with 4x magnification so you cannot expect the same performance as a 6x model. The objective lens is 21mm in diameter, which is standard for such a product. The laser used for the model is Class 1 and safe for the human eye. The range goes from 10 to 600 yards, and the model weighs 7.7 ounces, so it is lightweight. It works with 9V batteries.
When shopping for a laser rangefinder, you first need to focus on the distance the model can cover. In this case, the Bone Collector can calculate distances of up to 600 yards and can go as low as 10 yards. The maximum error allowed is one yard plus or minus, so you will get accurate readings when using this particular rangefinder.
Something must be pointed out here, as the 600-yard range is only for highly reflective targets. Anything that doesn’t reflect light too well can be seen at 400 yards or less, so that is something you might want to bear in mind when you compare the Bone Collector to other similar models on the market.
Roof prism optics are used for this rangefinder, and the image you can see through it is pretty clear and without any noticeable chromatic aberrations or other mishaps. One of the upsides is that you can use the LCD display in low light conditions and still get a clear image, which hunters appreciate, seeing how they may hunt in various situations.
With a field of view of 320 feet at 1,000 yards, it is safe to say that this model does a pretty good job, as you can use it as a monocular. The long eye relief of 20mm, is quite convenient, and people who wear glasses will find it comfortable to use. The optics are fully multi-coated, so glare is not usually an issue. The focus is also great, and users can expect more than decent performance as far as optics are concerned.
The Bone Collector is built to withstand inclement weather, as the housing is rainproof and quite durable. For a model as compact and lightweight as this one, you will be surprised how sturdy it feels when you hold it in your hand. You will also be quite pleased with the fact that it is small enough to fit in a shirt pocket so carrying it around with you will not be an issue for sure. The one-button operation helps with the ease of use, and the textured material on the button will allow you to use it even with gloved or wet hands.
This model from Bushnell is pretty standard, so it doesn’t come with too many extras. You will get a case with your purchase so that you can carry it in maximum safety conditions. Otherwise, you will not find other accessories packed with your rangefinder, so, if that is something essential for you to have, you may want to look around some more. Nonetheless, the overall performance and durability recommend this product.
If you want a straightforward, easy-to-use rangefinder, you cannot go wrong with this one. The Bone Collector is compact, lightweight, and painted in the attractive RealTree Xtra camouflage pattern. It doesn’t come with many bells and whistles, but you will like its versatility as both a monocular and a rangefinder. The optics quality is superior; overall, you will be satisfied with your purchase.
How can a rangefinder help you in the hunting field
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 can accurately calculate distance within 1 yard or so, and this information can be critical when 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.