Last week in northern Alberta I hunted whitetails under a mix of cold, drizzle and light snow. Most of my hunting occurred glassing giant cut alfalfa fields totally exposed to the elements. In these fields a hunter can shoot “way out there,” if he has the skills — and knows exactly how far the target is. That makes a top-quality laser rangefinder a must.
For this hunt I used a Leupold RX-1200i TBR/W with DNA. It’s latest addition to Leupold’s popular RX hunting laser rangefinder line; it’s most noteworthy new feature is its ability to aid in accounting for wind. This is now Leupold’s premier rangefinder and comes with more bells and whistles than almost any other rangefinder on the market. Being a “keep it simple stupid” kinda guy, my first question was if Leupold created an awesome hunting rangefinder or an overly complex unit to avoid.
This new Leupold rangefinder can trace its core features back to the RX-1000i TBR, which was one of Leupold’s first high-end rangefinders; this original model has been updated almost yearly until it has reached its present form, the RX-1200i TBR/W DNA. The RX means hunting, the 1200 means a maximum range of 1,200 yards, while the TBR (True Ballistic Range) conveys the unit is capable of angle compensated readings. Meanwhile, the “W” indicates the new wind adjustment feature while DNA (Digitally eNhanced Accuracy) signifies a processor upgrade the line went through several years ago that improved speed and accuracy of the units. Currently, Leupold makes a plain line of sight rangefinder called the RX-1200i DNA, and last year’s RX-1200i TBR DNA without the windage feature is still widely available, so pay close attention when shopping.
The unit is a slim, compact vertical style rangefinder featuring an aluminum housing equipped with a rubberized layer for a better grip and is rated as weatherproof. It has a 6X magnification and has a last target priority mode to aid in ranging through cover like tall grass or branches. It uses a red OLED display and it is capable of displaying both true horizontal range or holdover adjustments in Mil, MOA, inches or cm while in rifle mode. It features three modes: LOS (line of sight), Bow or Rifle. It is rated as having maximum distance of 1,200 yards on highly reflective targets, 900 yards on trees and 800 yards on deer. It is also equipped with full-value wind calculations, but it does not actually measure wind speed. I was able to get consistent in-the-field readings off trees on dim days at 750 yards and deer at 400 yards.
I found that all these options bring a level of complexity, and setup and adjustments are more involved than most rangefinders. There are a lot of options and only two buttons to work with when programming so it took a bit of time getting things set up and familiar with all the settings. That said, this unit is one of the most customizable laser rangefinders available.
My moment came with just 15 minutes of legal shooting time left. The buck entered the far end of the field a tad more than 500 yards off, too far for me to shoot with a Winchester XPR loaded with Winchester Deer Season XP ammo that I had not had a lot of range time with. So I made a quick move to the brush line, slithered to a point of brush, set up my Bog Pod tripod stick, quickly settled in and zapped the buck with the rangefinder. The reading was instantaneous and accurate — 337 yards. That meant put the crosshair on the shoulder and touch it off. The buck crumpled.
All in all, I like this rangefinder a lot — and I am something of a rangefinder geek. It’s rugged, accurate and features high-end optics. I saw it yesterday on Amazon for $328 in black and another $20 with a camo finish. It’s an investment that will pay off for years. You can get more information here.