Leupold Hunting Rangefinder Comparison and Reviews
While probably best known for its rifle scopes and binoculars, Leupold has gained a loyal following in the rangefinder world as well. Leupold has focused primarily on making affordable rangefinders for hunters and was the first to introduce a bow mounted laser rangefinder called the Vendetta. While there is a Vendetta review page linked at the bottom of the page, the following common features of their more traditional RX rangefinders are examined below.
DNA – While this Leupold technology has been available on their higher end RX-1000i series rangefinders, it is now standard on the entire line of RX rangefinders. Essentially, this is an improved processor in these units that allow them to read faster and with more accuracy than previous versions. While we tend to think of rangefinders as optics it is important to remember they are electronics as well, and the technology aspect tends to progress at a faster rate than the optics. So its good to see a manufacture making these upgrades to keep their models up to date.
Selectable Reticles- Leupold is one of the only rangefinder manufactures that allows the user to select different reticles. All RX models now feature three different reticle choices which was cleverly done by using two different reticles and then adding the option of turning both options on at the same time making a third option. When both options are on the reticle appears to be somewhat similar to a duplex riflescope reticle; turn the outside thick crosshairs off and you have a small fine crosshair that doesn’t obscure small targets. Alternatively, turn off small inside crosshair and use the thick outside part of the reticle with an empty center to for a less cluttered view of larger targets.
Last Target Mode – Some RX model rangefinders are equipped with a last target mode, while in this mode if the rangefinder receives a split reading (i.e. the rangefinder hits two objects at once) it will return the distance to the further of the two objects. This is useful feature for hunters who often have to range through cover like grass or branches.
TBR- Some models in the Leupold line feature TBR or True Ballistic Range. The details would take quite awhile to explain but here are the basics. Models with the TBR designation come with three modes: LOS, Bow, and Rifle.
LOS – Stands for line of sight and is the linear distance to target. (i.e the angle to target is not accounted for)
Bow – When in this mode the unit will return true horizontal range (angle compensated readings) out to 125 yards, reading farther than that will be returned in LOS distance.
Rifle – Readings can be displayed in one of the following ways after selecting a closely matched ballistic path from one of their preprogrammed charts.
1) True Horizontal Range
2) Hold over in inches or centimeters
3) Adjustments in Mil
4) Adjustments in MOA
Scan + Yards and Meters
RX series rangefinders are all equipped with a scan mode for quickly getting readings on multiple targets or on a moving target. This mode works by simply holding down the range button and the display will be updated as you move from target to target.
These units are also capable of reading out distances in either yards or meters (in all modes) not just scan. While this is now a pretty standard feature there are still rangefinders that have to be ordered in either yards or meters versions.
Compact & Lightweight – All models of the RX rangefinders are of the compact vertical design and feature either a 5x or 6x magnification, which make them well suited for a variety of big game hunting with either bow or rifle. These models also all weigh in at less than 8oz which is a welcome factor for those who put in several miles on foot when hunting.
While not all Leupold RX models are built from the same housing material they are all equipped with some rubberized gripping surfaces on the housing. This rubber material offers protection for the unit’s housing but more importantly provides a good surface for you to hang onto to in wet conditions, or when your hands get sweaty.
Like many rangefinders these Leupold rangefinders have two buttons, a power button and a mode button. The power button is located on the top of the unit towards the rear just above the eyepiece as is the location on almost all rangefinders. However, the mode button on these RX rangefinders is located on the left side of the unit near the front, whereas some manufactures choose to put the mode button on top in front of the power button. Some feel this set up keeps you from accidentally hitting the mode button instead of the power in stressful circumstances.
The eyepieces on the RX models will fold down to accommodate users who wear glasses. Furthermore, all these models have an adjustable diopter, so the user can focus the unit to his eyes by simply rotating the eyepiece in one direction or the other.
These units are powered by a CR2 battery, as are most of the newer rangefinders on the market. The battery compartment is located directly below the eyepiece on the RX-1000 models, and on the right side on the bottom toward the rear on the other models. All models should be able to get several thousand reading out of a single battery.
In the Box- Leupold ships all its RX rangefinders with a carrying case, battery, lanyard, and instruction manual. So everything you need to get going comes in the box. If you purchased a TBR do yourself a favor and keep track of the instructional manual as these contain lots of options and settings.
Leupold Rangefinder Comparison Chart
* The Full Draw contains only the Bow mode of the TBR feature.
RX-1000i DNA – The RX-1000i DNA series is available in both a standard and TBR version. These units feature an aluminum housing and the longest ranging capability of any current Leupold rangefinder. These units also come with a red OLED display with three different manually adjustable intensity settings.
RX-800i DNA Series – This series also consists of both a standard and True Ballistic Range model. The RX-800 series has replaced the older RX-750 series of rangefinders. These models feature an improved LCD display with black readout and fall in the middle of the line up in performance and price between the RX-1000 and RX-600 models.
RX-Full Draw – As the name gives away, Leupold designed this rangefinder for the bow hunter. In many ways it is similar to the RX-800 line; however there are some key differences. For example, this model has a 5x magnification for more field of view at close range. Also the Full Draw rangefinder operates exclusively in the TBR “Bow” mode, giving angle compensated reading out to 125 yards then line of sight readings after that.
RX-600i DNA – The entry level model of the line up, the RX-600i recently received an upgrade and now contains the DNA technology found in the higher end models. There is no TBR model available in this series; however, the RX-600 still has three different reticles options, can display readings in yards or meters, and is equipped with a scan feature.
Vendetta – A bow mounted archery rangefinder, this unit is calibrated using one of the archer’s sight pins to aim the unit and displays readings on an external red LED display. The unit is activated by a pressure switch located by the grip of the bow so the user can get yardage readings while at full draw. However, this unit is not legal to hunt with in every state.
RX-750 - This model features 6x magnification and weighs in at 6.8oz. The RX-750 laser rangefinder is held vertically and will range reflective targets out to 750 yards and still range deer out to 500 yards and features the TBR technology.
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