Long Range Rifle Hunting Rangefinders
Long range hunters have found that rangefinders are an invaluable tool to their sport. Most hunters know that the key to making a good shot accurately knowing the distance to the animal; however, this becomes even more critical as the range increases. With the rising popularity of customized scopes set up to match an individual rifles ballistics, and the increasing use ballistic software; hunters with practice and the proper equipment are taking game at what once was considered extreme ranges. The majority of hunters who will only on rare ocassion shot out past 300 or 400 yards would probably be better suited with what we classify as dual purpose rangefinders as they are well able to handle those distance. However, those who are set up and comfortable taking game out past those distances should consider this class of rifle hunting rangefinders.
What to look For:
Compact and Lightweight: Depsite the fact that many shooters in this category take long shots, that doesn't mean they aren't having to get away from the truck and put a lot of miles on foot to hopefully get a shot. Therefore, a compact lightweight rangefinder makes the most sense. If your shots will be likely be long and your walks short you would probably be better suited with what we call rifle shooting rangefinders, which are larger, heavier, and generally have a tripod mount. However, those hunting mountain sheep, mountain goat, mule deer, antelope,elk, etc. who are watching weight and logging miles will probably want to stick with these smaller more compact models.
High Power Magnification: When hunting with a rifle the ability to see and range big game sized animals at long distance is crucial. So here a 7x magnification rangefinder is about ideal; while an 8x might even be better, 7x magnification is pretty much the limit as to what a vertically held rangefinder can be held steady enough to get long range readings offhand. This especially true when your heart in pounding from hiking, or the adrenaline rush of spotting a trophy animal.
Ranging capability: Those hunters that fall into this category who might be taking shots out past 500 yards are going to want as much ranging power as they can get in this style of rangefinder for a couple of reasons. The ranging distance listed by the manufacture is always a best case scenario reading under good conditions on a highly reflective object; and you can expect a rangefinder to range a large animal at about half that listed range. This puts 1000 yard models down to 500 yards, and while weather conditions, target size, shape, and color will all factor into how far the rangefinder will read; using half the max range gives you a pretty decent number to work with and if you have favorable conditions and can get more ranging distance from your rangefinder consider it an bonus.
Calculations: Once ranges start exceeding 500 yards, it starts becoming necessary to take into account the numerous factors that can affect a shot. Some rangefinders are equipped to calculate these equations on the go, while others have selectable predetermined ballistic curves that calculat the range and tell you were to hold, while still other rangefinders might simply give you the line of sight distance a let you determine the rest of the calculations with a seperate devices like a smart phone. So consider that factors like wind, elevation, temperature, angle of the shot, among other factors will all need to be taken into account and how many of these factors you want the rangefinder to handle.
Rifle Hunting Rangefinder Comparison Chart
|Model||Leica CRF 1600-B|
|Nikon Monarch 1200||Leica CRF 1000-R||Leupold RX-1000i TBR|
|Weight||8.1 oz||8 oz||9.8 oz||7.8 oz||7.8 oz|
|L x W x H||4.5 x 1.3 x 3||4 x 1.3 x 2.9||5.7 x 1.8 x 3.2||4.5 x 1.3 x 3||3.8 x 1.3 x 2.8|
|Max range||1600 yds||1300 yds||1200 yds||1000 yds||1000 yds|
Editor's Pick Leica CRF 1600-B
This category was unique in that there was only one rangefinder that actually fit the criteria well, which was the Leica CRF 1600-B. At first we thought maybe we have the wrong criteria or have misclassified the category but ultimately this is a category that definitely exists in the hunting world. When using the half of the listed maximum range guideline when calculating how far a rangefinder will give a reading on an animal; all models besides the Leica 1600-B drop out around the 500 - 600 yard mark, which is little to no gain over the dual purpose rangefinder category. As a reference point the Bushnell G-Force DX has a factory rating listed as 1300 yards on reflective targets, 900 yards on trees, and 600 yards on deer. So despite not even getting a chance to knock the Leica CRF 1600-B for being significantly more expensive than the other models; or praising its many advanced features (see full review here), the Leica kind of won this category by default being the only option well suited to range significantly farther than the rangefinders in the dual purpose category.
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