6 Best Hunting Rangefinder Reviews (2018 Ultimate Guide)
The best hunting rangefinder is now a must-have in every hunting expedition, as it will give you an accurate distance of your target. To help you hand-pick the right brand, we’ve reviewed the best range finders in order to choose the suitable one. Check this out:
Best Rangefinder for Hunting:
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(minimal beam divergence)
Long Range Shooting
(best rangefinder for the money)
Long Range Shooting
Long Range Shooting
Long Range Shooting
Archery and gun hunting
Archery and gun hunting
Best Range Finder Reviews
This review is divided into two sections.
- 1. Best archery rangefinder reviews: You will discover the pros and cons of every product to give you a clear picture of what each product is all about.
- 2. Best long range rangefinder, so you can confidently choose from any of the long distance laser rangefinder we have discussed here.
So, keep reading.
Best Rangefinder For Bow Hunting
1. Leopold RX-1200i Tbr Rangefinder Black
The first bow rangefinder on our list happens to be the RX-1200i Tbr due to its record-breaking range capacity. Thanks to its coated lens, the RX-1200i has been able to corner the market for having a ranging capacity of 5-1200 yards from both bows and rifles, giving you the longest range distance you can find around.
Design wise, the RX-1200i sports a 3.8" x 1.3" x 2.8" in dimension, and houses an aluminum finish coupled with 7.8oz weight, making it one of the sturdiest rangefinders around.
Great, but can you use this rangefinder for gun hunting?
The rangefinder is not only perfect for archery and gun hunting, but it is also easy to read even in low light, accurate arch, and black target.
Apart from offering angle compensation, the RX-1200i has always lived up to expectations by allowing you to use it for angles with your bow or rifle while whitetail hunting in a tree stands. Thanks to its LOW mode and Bow mode that delivers ranges to 0.1' to give you a range to the nearest yard.
Sounds great, right? But that isn’t all yet.
From personal us and testing, I observe that I have the freedom to set the rangefinder to any of the three reticles and the bright and illuminated OLED displays are a spot on.
Just like any other products, the RX-1200i comes with its own drawbacks.
First, I figure out that it doesn’t offer a hole for tripod mounting, which did leave a bad taste in my mouth. I have been looking for a rangefinder that provides a hole for mounting on a tripod. Unfortunately, RX-1200i didn’t honor my expectation.
Another gripe I have with this product is that you can’t use it in the night. Who doesn’t want a rangefinder that is suitable for both day and night? Unfortunately, this wasn’t made to do so.
- Compact and very easy to use in the field
- Sturdy design
- Perfect for both archery and rifles
- Bright and illuminated OLED display
- Comes with angles of compensation
- No hole to mount it on a tripod
- Can’t be used during night time
2. Vortex Optics Ranger 1000
There’s nothing much to say about this well-thought-out rangefinder than to rain down words of praises. The Vortex has really gotten a good name for itself due to its satisfactory and exceptional performance.
You can rely on this bad boy to give you a ranging target up to 1000 yards and a clear distance data for accurate shots. The ranger also adds to its profile by featuring an angle-compensated distance reading to give you accurate shot on target.
How does this compare to the Leopold RX-1200i?
The Range acquisition of the Vortex Optics is quite fast, but my wager would go to the Leopold which is pretty faster than the Vortex.
The optics of the Vortex is a pretty spot on, just like that of Leopold rangefinder, which also offers low light capability.
Unlike the Leopold that houses a rubber-aluminum, the Vortex beats the Leopold by offering you a solid feel and sports an armored plastic rubber to add to its durability.
To top it off the Vortex lens is thoroughly coated to give you an optimal transmission and also beats its main competitor-the Leopold by featuring a sealed o-rings to survive any unfavorable weather conditions. Apart from being suitable for both bow and rifle hunters, you can choose to set this unit in meters or yards.
Design wise, Vortex ranger is lightweight and also features a compact and ergonomic design to give you the needed flexibility to hang it around your neck with ease. Thanks to the included adjustable clip mount, you now have the opportunity to securely place the ranger in your pocket, belt or other areas you can have easy access to it.
- The fully multi-coated lens provides you with a bright view
- Waterproof and fog proof
- Rugged design to withstand harsh situations
- Accuracy ranges from 11-1000 yards
- Lightweight and compact design
- It features a cover with a belt loop for easy mounting
- High-quality for the price
- The range is quite shorter than that of the Leopold
3. SIG Kilo 850 Rangefinder Monocular
Another archery rangefinder that is trying to keep up the pace with the above two rangefinders on our list is the SIG Kilo 850. It has also maintained the records by featuring an angle modified range detection to calculate angles like a pro.
Here’s why I like this product:
It is cheap and affordable compared to the two products that are topping our list. So, if you are on a budget, you don’t need to break the bank before you can buy this fantastic rangefinder.
That said, you can easily range between objects like a tree. To add to its hype is the fact that the kilo 850 is also waterproof. While I wouldn’t advise you to submerge it in water for more extended hours, the ranger can still survive a quick dip from an unexpected fall.
I found it so bitter and sad that the Kilo 850 monocular decided to gang up with other rangefinders by not offering a hole to mount it on a tripod.
I thought SIG Sauer kilo 850 was going to out-think other brands by featuring a mounting hole. Unfortunately, it decided to follow the crowd by not offering this function. They claimed it was handheld only.
- Easy to use
- Lightweight and compact design
- It can measure in both angle-adjusted and line-of-sight measurements
- Highly accurate and reliable
- No pre-drilled hole to mount it on a tripod
- Can’t be used at night
4. Bushnell 202208 Bone Collector
The unique thing about this rangefinder is that it is straightforward to operate. It has a simple one-button operation with a Magnification x objective of 4x 21mm. With an improved in-view LCD, you will get accurate distance and range to your target which can be from 10 to 600 yards with just a press of a button.
I also love the fact that it offers a 4x magnification and brilliant crystal clear optics to give you a clear view of the target. I can vouch that it is efficient, provides a compact and vertical design, and the best part is that it is rainproof.
Can you attach a tether to it?
Sure, and that is one of the reasons this product was able to make it to our list of the best rangefinders. You can easily attach a tether to this unit. The best part is that you get to see the distance in meters and yards using this rangefinder.
How do you do that?
All you have to do is to choose the one you want the unit to feature. A single press and hold of the power button will show you the option to select between meters and yards.
With that said, the ranger also works fine with eyeglasses without any issues. So if you are always on glasses, then this ranger comes in handy for you.
Great! Is it weather resistant?
The ranger had lived beyond expectation when it comes to using it in the rain, or foggy season. It works flawlessly and doesn’t affect its view or target.
Does it measure angles?
Of course, it does. If it doesn’t, this wouldn’t have ranked among the best brand on our list. You can get a return angle even on a tree stand, incline and on the ground. Also, it is not fully waterproof but can resist water to an extent.
- The simple one-button makes its operation a breeze.
- An improved in-view LCD gives you accurate distance
- It can withstand harsh conditions
- Measures in angles from any distance
- Doesn't offer a hole to Mount it on a tripod
- Not fully waterproof
- Can’t be used at night
Best Rangefinder for Long Range Shooting
We’ve compiled some of the best long rangefinders on the market
1. Bushnell Elite 1 Mile CO
My dream of owning a rangefinder that can be mounted on a tripod, finally came to pass with the Bushnell Elite 1 Mile CONX.
I could hang it around my neck, and the best part is that I could mount it on a tripod. To add to its hype, the ranger is lightweight and doesn't take up much space in my hunting gear.
Amazing, right? Well, there are still more lovelies.
This long rangefinder is sturdy and can be handheld. It offers a 7x magnification with the ability to range reflective targets up to a mile. I was quite surprised with the clarity of the display of this rangefinder. While the display may not be up to binocular level, it's quite good for a rangefinder.
Nice, But what is the Range?
The Bushnell Elite, 1 Mile CONX, claims to range targets up to a mile. However, keep this in mind that ranges given by manufacturers are taken using perfect conditions and very reflective targets which is different from what is obtainable in the field.
So, as a general rule, the real range of any rangefinder can be gotten by dividing the manufacturer's range by 2.
From experience, the Bushnell ranges targets that are 800 to 1000 yards away excellently.
Is it durable?
As I earlier mentioned that the Bushnell Elite 1 Mile CONX seems quite sturdy. The whole body is covered with a rugged, rubberized coating which provides a good grip.
Cool, what about its connectivity?
With this unit, you can easily connect your smartphone or kestrel device via Bluetooth. After connecting to your smartphone, you can adjust all settings on the device from your smartphone and even perform ballistic calculations!
Although I’m impressed with this rangefinder, I noticed that the screen seems too cluttered with icons which can be a bit overwhelming at times.
Apart from that, the Bushnell is an excellent piece of rangefinder any hunter should include as part of his hunting arsenal.
- The clarity of the display is superb
- The build of this rangefinder is solid and sturdy
- It can be held steady in one hand to get ranges
- The unit can range correctly up to 1000 yards at the first trial
- The Bluetooth connectivity with kestrel sportsman device or smartphone is a huge plus
- Flexible and reliable
- The screen seems too cluttered with icons
2. Sig Sauer 6x20 KILO1250 Laser Rangefinder
The Sig Sauer 6x20 KILO1250 is one of the most accurate, fastest and simplest Laser Rangefinder on the market that comes with the best features to give only the best. This device outshines its competitors by offering a revolutionary Lightwave DSP Technology to provide the longest distance and high transmittance LCD display.
This rangefinder also offers SpectraCoat anti-reflection coatings to give superior optical clarity and crystal clear light transmission. The sleek design of this rangefinder is also another nice feature that is worthy of mention—thanks to its lanyard attachment points, which makes it perfect for any handed operation.
Apart from those, this device sports a HyperScan feature that offers 4 range updates every second in scan mode. Right at the top of the device is a button that activates the laser rangefinder.
If you press the button one time and hold it down, you will get 4 times a second to refresh the range. So, you can scan back and forth over a target to give that near return you need to range with confidence.
Range more Exactly with Angle Modified Range
It also features an AMR and LOS mode. The AMR is known as the angle modified range, and it is used for Bowhunters or Rifle hunters that are up in the tree stand. Added to this is the RangeLock setting that reports the last range result of distant targets.
Easy to Read Blackout Reader
If you're wondering if the 6x20 KILO 1250 uses a blackout reader--yes, it does. You won't encounter any problem with ambient evening light with this rangefinder as it is all set out to work amazingly well and give you the perfect range to carry out an accurate shot.
Although this rangefinder claims to range out to 1000 yards, that is only if the conditions are right for it. Sometimes, in a bad condition, the rangefinder will not range past 500 yards.
Another downside we noticed is that the black display is a little bit difficult to read in low light conditions.
- Incredibly accurate
- The Magnification is up to 6x
- Offers a minimum Distance of 1 yds and Max Distance of 1600 yds
- Perfect high relief of 15mm
- The lightweight design of 5 oz
- Offers angle changed range or Line of Sight accuracy
- Crystal Clear optics
- Solid battery life
- The black display is difficult to read in low light
- A bit expensive
- Most times, it won't range up to 1000 yards in bad conditions.
3. Leica CRF 1600 Rangemaster Laser - Best Rangefinder For Long Range Hunting
For hunters who are looking for a rangefinder for long-distance shooting, the Leica CRF 1600 is worth considering.
It is known as one of the most advanced and farthest rangefinders available for long range shooters. It offers precise distance measurements and gives a magnification of 7x the target. Its ranging return takes a mere 0.3 seconds to return an accurate range.
The Leica CRF 1600 Rangemaster boast of giving an accurate range of up to 1600 yards - a feat not accomplished by most rangefinders in its price category.
However, this is the figure put out by the manufacturer. It is gotten under perfect weather conditions and reflective targets.
In practice, the Leica CRF 1600 performance is still impressive. It can range accurately beyond 1200 yards, even in dim light. This makes it superb for long range shooting.
The laser performance is a spot on. It offers a reliability rate and most times takes the reading up to 1800m+
What about the Build and Durability?
The build of the Leica CRF 1600 is quite compact. It is housed in a carbon fiber reinforced plastic. It is nitrogen charged so no need to worry about fogging, and it is Watertight for 30 minutes and so can take a beating.
The Leica CRF 1600 Rangemaster not only gives ranges but has a whole lot of calculators. It can provide accurate temperatures and pressure readings, so you may not need your weather kits.
Unlike other rangefinders in its price category, the Leica CRF 1600 comes with an integrated ballistics computer which offers a choice of ballistic curves.
All you need to do is simply choose the appropriate ballistic curve, and the rangefinder shows you the precise terminal point.
- Gives accurately ranging up to 1200 yards
- Impressive display, which can be read in any light condition
- Inbuilt ballistic computer
- The very small size which is quite awkward to hold
4. Sig Sauer Kilo 2000 Yard Rangefinder
The Kilo 2000 is a great rangefinder which boasts of ranging more than 1000 yards. The unit offers 7x magnification as most rangefinders but comes with a unique build which gives it an excellent compactness and lightweight.
What about its Ranging?
Ranging is the primary reason for getting a rangefinder. The Kilo 2000 has been proven to give correct ranges of up to 1200 yards! This is one of the best ranges one can get among other rangefinders in the same price category as the Kilo 2000.
How is the Mode Like?
The Kilo 2000 offers an impressive scan mode which returns ranges at an ultra-fast speed of 4x per seconds. This is quite good for tracking and taking ranges of moving targets. It also offers bullseye and brush modes as other rangefinders.
Can I depend on its Display?
It features a unique OLED display, which is light sensitive. The display automatically adjusts as light condition changes, making it suitable for use in dim or bright conditions.
What about its Calculation?
The Kilo 2000 offers only angle and distance calculation. There's no inbuilt ballistic, pressure or temperature calculator.
Build and Durability
The Kilo 2000 is quite small in size. This is a great benefit as it helps reduce the load in your gear. The magnesium housing gives a nice weight, which makes it feels like a quality product.
You should avoid dropping this product as it is quite plastic and made of tiny electronics. It has a good grip which makes it suitable to be held in one hand. It does not support tripod stand.
- Long range, up to 1200 yards
- Ultra-fast speed 4x per second scan mode
- Palm size. It can be hung around the neck without feeling any weight
- Cool display. It has red reticle which can be viewed clearly in any lighting condition
- Automatically adjust the display according to light condition
- No tripod support
Types of Rangefinders
There are 3 types of rangefinders on the market:
- Infrared rangefinder
- Optical rangefinder
- Laser rangefinder
1. Infrared Rangefinder
An infrared rangefinder is a reliable tool for measuring very short distance. It calculates the length of a sensor-object by triangulation.
This process works by detecting the reflected infrared beam from an object. The infrared rangefinder produces infrared rays which are directed at the target object. The object then reflects this beams back to the rangefinder which then gives the distance using triangulation.
- The infrared rangefinder is quite inexpensive
- It is relatively accurate, especially when used to measure short distances.
- It is easy to use
- It cannot be used to measure the distance of objects far away. Even when used, the reading might not be accurate.
- It becomes very inaccurate at very low distances, especially the ones less than 4."
2. Optical Rangefinder
The optical rangefinder works using the principle of triangulation. They are designed with two lenses at both ends. One focuses on the object while the other is the eyepiece.
A focusing knob on the body of the rangefinder superimposes the image produced by both lenses.
This is calibrated with a scale that can be used to get the distance of the hunter from the object. It is essential when using this type of rangefinder to focus properly on the object since this affects the accuracy of the instrument.
- Optical rangefinders are relatively very cheap. The distance measured by optical rangefinders is usually accurate so long as it is properly focused
- They are light and very convenient to carry about
- They do not use batteries, so you don't have to worry about recharging or replacing them.
- They need to be held steady in order to give an accurate reading. Learning to do this can be quite tricky.
3. Laser Rangefinders
The working principle of a laser rangefinder is quite similar to that of the auto focus camera.
It consists of a laser emitter. This device emits invisible laser beams which can be focused on the subject of which the distance is required. When the subject reflects the laser beams, it is captured by the sensor.
A microchip computer then uses the time it took for the reflected beam to get back to the sensor to calculate the proximity of the subject. Laser Rangefinder is incredibly easy to use and give accurate results within seconds.
- Laser rangefinders are very accurate. It probably is the most accurate rangefinder type in the market.
- It is very fast. It uses laser beams which travel with the speed of light for measuring distance so that you will get your results within a few seconds.
- It is quite expensive
In this article, we focus on best laser rangefinder only. Keep reading:
How to Choose the Best Hunting Rangefinder?
In choosing a hunting rangefinder, you should ensure that the following features described below are present.
Before choosing a hunting rangefinder, pay close attention to the maximum effective range of the rangefinder.
- If you are a long-range shooter, you might want to consider getting a hunting rangefinder that is good for distances well over 1000 yards. Not to mention, some major brands these days offer maximum ranges of 1,000 yards or even better.
- Even as an archery shooter or if you are using a 3D target, you should get a rangefinder that has a long maximum range and can cover over 250 yards.
Always expect a real range from ½ - ⅔ of the maximum range which is often calculated using an ideal condition such as perfect weather conditions and large reflective surfaces which are far from what is obtainable in a hunting expedition.
For example, the size of a deer in a typical ideal weather condition will appear 75% of your stated range. So in most cases, you have to divide the manufacturer's range by 2.
2. Angle Compensation
The angle compensation is something you should look for in a rangefinder. Though, this might be given a different name by the manufacturer, ensure it is present before making payments.
In most hunting cases, we do not shoot at games that are on the same level as we. They are either on higher or lower lands. To get them, we will have to tilt our rifle or bow to a particular angle in order to get the correct projection.
The angle compensation of the hunting rangefinder tells you the amount of angle drop you'll have to lower or raise your weapon for accurate shots.
The speed of return of your range is very critical. When hunting, your game will not remain in a place for more than a few minutes before changing position. Getting a rangefinder with high range return speed is very important.
With all the hunting gears that you will need to carry, it'll be unwise to buy a rangefinder that's pretty large. Most hunting rangefinder comes in sizes that can fit in your pocket, so try getting one that is convenient to carry about and can be held easily with one hand.
5. Fog/ Rain mode
If you are skeptical about hunting, then you know the weather doesn't care if you are after a good game or not. It can rain at any time.
Getting a hunting rangefinder that allows good ranging without interference from rain particles or fog is a huge benefit. Though this might be slightly expensive, you'll find it's worth every penny.
Most rangefinders come with either a red or black reticle.
- Rangefinders that have black reticle make use of LCD screens and are suitable in bright conditions.
- On the other hand, rangefinders with red reticle are excellent in dim conditions. They typically make use of a LED screen that is expensive and offers more transparent display.
So, the point is to choose rangefinders that feature a great reticle display that suits your hunting needs.
Rangefinders come with a different ranging mode that can be used as desired to improve accuracy. The scan mode is pretty convenient, and if you're going to get a hunting rangefinder, you shouldn't get one without a scan mode.
- The Scan mode: offers you the ability to get the range of a continuously moving target.
- The Bullseye mode: allows you to range with priority. This mode is especially suitable for ranging from close objects without ranging from distant ones.
- The Brush Mode: is kind of the opposite of the Bullseye Mode. It offers you the ability to focus on the background rather than on the close target.
In getting a good hunting rangefinder look for one that offers all three modes.
8. Accuracy in Daylight and Low Light
Make sure you choose the best hunting rangefinder that offers more precise ranging accuracy (+/-1 yard).
Range a tree and make sure that the rangefinder is accurate and gives you the right range of the target.
Even if we lust after a good hunting rangefinder, price, especially higher ones are a huge turn-off. If you are really serious about hunting, then you might want to consider getting a good hunting rangefinder with a long range. Though this is often expensive, it is quite a necessity, and you might even be glad that you got one.
If you are low on budget, then you can wait and save more for a better rangefinder instead of getting a cheap one that is inaccurate. This will only increase your cost in the future as you will probably become frustrated with it and try getting a better one at the same highest expense.
This is one crucial product feature we always ignore. Even if our products come with a great warranty, we still don't make use of it. Before getting a hunting rangefinder ensure you find out about the warranty offered by the company and its the terms.
Some offer lifetime repair and replacement warranty after using the rangefinder for a year! While others only provide repair warranty for a full year.
Since the rangefinder is a very delicate tool, ensure you get one with an excellent warranty to save you from additional costs.
Overall, all the above-mentioned brands are great in all their own respective ways. But when it comes to our editor’s choice, the Leopold (archery rangefinder) and Bushnell Elite 1 (long rangefinder) are classic and exceptional products compared to others. They are both:
- Durable and reliable
- Offer a high range of return speed
- Feature angle compensation to give you the amount of angle drop you'll have to lower or raise your weapon for accurate shots
- Can resist harsh weather conditions
On the other hand, our editor’s award for the best long rangefinder would obviously go to the Bushnell Elite 1 Mile CONX. This brand blows other rangefinders out of the water due to its ability to mount it on a tripod.
That is it, guys. We have reviewed the best hunting rangefinder 2018. What brand is your favorite hunting rangefinder? Can you share your experience with us? Don't forget to leave a comment down below.