The laser rangefinder has been an important tool for more than a decade, and one is now found in the backpack or pocket of most every hunter who takes to the woods and fields. Basic laser rangefinders do one thing: tell you the range from you to your target. Over the years, rangefinders have improved and more companies have thrown their hat into the ring. The result has been some great innovations that really help the hunter.
Rangefinders now come in several sizes, magnifications, yardage levels and with features such as angle compensation and scanning. Price points run from entry level to quite an investment for models with high-quality glass and top-end features.
If you are looking for a new rangefinder, this list will help you find the perfect one that fits your needs and — especially — your budget. Keep in mind that many of these manufacturers offer several models with various price points and features. However, these 11 offer a great feature/price benefit.
Bushnell Trophy Xtreme
Max Range: 850 yards
Weight: 5.3 ounces
The Buzz: This mid-priced model is designed with the bowhunter in mind. It features both archery and rifle modes. It has color separation targeting to help pick up darker targets at ranges beyond 100 yards. The 4X magnification is about right for hunting in the timber and on the edges of food plots and fields. It features the crucial angle compensation setting and is also water resistant.
More Information: www.bushnell.com
Gunwerks G7 BR2
Max Range: 2,500 yards
Weight: 14.4 ounces
The Buzz: Buying a top-end rangefinder takes commitment. But if you are interested in long-range shooting, angle compensation, windage calculations, minute of angle and other terms most not-so-serious hunters don’t understand, this unit deserves serious consideration. The G7 BR2 features real-time ballistic calculations and allows you to build a custom ballistic profile. It mounts on a tripod for range shooting and is surprisingly steady when hand-held in hunting situations.
More Information: www.gunwerks.com
Max Range: 700 yards
Weight: 5.3 ounces
The Buzz: This unit’s size small slips easily into a pocket, so you can take a range and quickly get it out of your hand to draw a bow. It scans and offers an angle compensator, showing you a “shoots like” distance. Those features are normally only found on rangefinders with a higher price point. It’s a great entry-level rangefinder for the bowhunter.
More Information: www.halooptics.com
Leica CRF 2000-B
Max Range: 2,000 yards
Weight: 6.4 ounces
The Buzz: This compact rangefinder offers some high-end features found in larger models and quality construction with excellent glass. It features more extensive onboard ballistics capabilities than previous Leica models. It offers both angle compensation and scan modes. The angle compensation works to about 800 yards, so this rangefinder is suitable for both long-range rifle shooting and for bowhunters. The red LED display automatically adjusts to available light.
More Information: us.leica-camera.com
Leupold Vendetta 2 Bow-Mounted Rangefinder
Max Range: <100 yards
Magnification/Objective: N/A Weight: 11 ounces
The Buzz: This unit mounts to the sight bracket or riser and allows ranging with the bow in your hand. A small trigger can be mounted on the bow so once you pull the trigger the LED display lights up. Touch the trigger right before a shot and it gives an accurate reading of the exact target distance. It also scans and gives ranges when moving from object to object. Because it’s bow mounted it’s not legal in all states, so check regulations.
More Information: www.leupold.com
Nikon Monarch 71 VR
Max Range: 1,000 yards
Magnification/Objective: 6x21mm Weight: 7.1 ounces
The Buzz: Here’s another tiny rangefinder that is small in size but not in usefulness. Nikon makes laser rangefinders in more than a dozen sizes, price points and with multiple features. Here, the VR stands for Vibration Reduction, which helps you hold steady on a target at long distances. It also offers two target priority modes, one for first target and one for distant target. It offers big features on a mid-range priced unit with high-quality glass.
More Information: www.nikonsportoptics.com
Opti-Logic Micro II
Max Range: 400 yards
Weight: 3½ ounces
The Buzz: This is the smallest rangefinder in the bunch, but it’s not short on features. This unit offers angle compensation for downhill or uphill shots. With no magnification, its strength is a wide field of view, which excels in thick cover or low light.
More Information: www.opti-logic.com
SIG Sauer KILO2200 MR
Max Range: 1,300 yards
Weight: 7½ ounces
The Buzz: This offers four range updates per second in scan mode. It also includes a smartphone-operated wind meter, plus line-of-sight or angle-modified range readings. It will mount to a tripod for long-distance ranging.
More Information: www.sigsauer.com
Max Range: 600 yards
Weight: 7.7 ounces
The Buzz: Here’s the entry-level rangefinder for a hunter who isn’t sure how much he’ll use one. If all you want to do is climb in your treestand and find the distance of several objects around you or your shooting lanes, this simple rangefinder will do nicely at a price that anyone can afford. While the stated range is 600 yards on highly reflective targets, expect a useful range of 300 yards on a deer standing out in a field is more realistic.
More Information: www.simmonsoptics.com
Vortex Ranger 1500
Max Range: 1,500 yards
Weight: 7.7 ounces
The Buzz: A great option in a moderate price range for a unit with high-quality glass. This rangefinder is a tough customer with a rubber armored exterior and a belt clip, something that’s surprisingly missing on other brands. It’s loaded with too many features to list here. The most popular for this unit are an angle compensator and line-of-sight ranging as well as scanning. Quality lenses help gather light and it ranges to 1,000 yards on most big-game animals.
More Information: www.vortexoptics.com
ZEISS Victory PRF
Max Range: 1,300 yards
Weight: 10.3 ounces
The Buzz: This horizontal laser rangefinder offers big features for the rifle hunter who wants to quickly and accurately get a range on a game animal. Program the unit with your bullet into the Ballistic Information System, which covers all common loads, and the unit quickly shows you holdover information calculated by your load’s trajectory. High-quality glass and coatings offer excellent low-light use.
More Information: www.zeiss.com/sport-optics
Photo credit: Bushnell’s Facebook page