Rangefinders for Long Range Shooting
A lot has changed in the long range shooting game over the last several years, it has developed from more of an art to a science. Ballistic programs for smartphones and Bluetooth capable Kestrels are now common place among the long range shooting crowd. Fortunately, rangefinder manufactures have also been paying attention and many have upgraded their high end long distance rangefinders to assist the extreme range marksman.
What to look for:
Horizontal Design: When ranging small targets or objects at a great distance it is important to hold the rangefinder as steady as possible to ensure a first attempt reading. Here the horizontal style rangefinders shine as they allow the shooter to hold the unit steady using a solid two hand grip; this is generally accepted as a more stable grip than the one used to hold a vertical design rangefinder. The horizontal rangefinder design also provides a large flat surface for use on a tripod and many models come equipped with a threaded hole for mounting a tripod.
Powerful Magnification: Higher magnifications such as 7x or higher are generally preferred for these long distance rangefinders as more precision is needed for accurately ranging targets at long range. Fortunately, the above mentioned horizontal design allows the shooter to keep a steady sight picture whereas holding a vertical style of rangefinder with these higher magnifications can be tricky.
Compatible Features: Deciding what information you want from the rangefinder is an important step when looking for a unit that will fit well with your intended use. Do you want the rangefinder to do most of the calculations, or do you just want it to give the target distance so you can enter it in a ballistics program? Making a list of what data you want from the rangefinder and in what unit of measure should be high on the list for anyone shopping for a long distance rangefinder.
Rifle Shooting Rangefinders
*measured in degrees only
Gunwerks G7 BR2 - This rangefinder is capable of calculating a large number of factors often reserved for ballistic software on a separate device. The G7 BR2 has room for five different user entered cartridge/bullet combos with information such as your chosen bullet's ballistic coefficient and the muzzle velocity of your load among a few of the options the user can input. We are working on a full review as a paragraph to explain what all this rangefinder can do doesn't begin to cover it. For now the bottom line is if you are willing to spend some time setting the G7 BR2 up and learning how to use it, then it is probably the best long/extreme range hunting rangefinder out there. Update: Check out our full write up on the G7 BR2 Rangefinder.
Bushnell Elite 1 Mile ARC - I've lost track of how many upgrades the Bushnell Elite has gone through but it has been several. The good news is that they keep tweaking this proven and well liked design; and adding additional advanced rangefinder technology as they develop it. Most notable on the newest Elite 1 Mile ARC version is the ability of the unit to not only give the angle of the shot in degrees, but now also to display the actual angle compensated yardage out to 1000 yards. Previous versions would only give the shot angle in degrees and compensated range data in hold over units such as inches or MOA. The Bushnell Elite 1 Mile ARC is a good option for those looking to get into the long range game on a budget.
Newcon 2200 SI - If their is one name that isn't well known in the rangefinder game it is Newcon, probably because they aren't commonly found in sporting good stores at least in the United States. They actually make a variety of long distance rangefinders; however, the Newcon 2200 SI hits the sweet spot for this category in features, performance, and price. It has a max range of just over 2400 yards, and is capable of giving the angle of the shot in degrees. This is a good option for those that are going to use a ballistic program for their long range shooting.
Zeiss PRF - This used to be our top pick in this category, and still is a great rangefinder with some unique features, such as firing the laser on the release of a button which aids in holding the unit steady when ranging. However, this model doesn't have the features to account for atmospheric conditions, or the angle of the shot. However, we have seen these around the $600 mark and it is still a viable option for those looking for a good long distance LOS (line of sight) rangefinder. Again your shooting style and what information you want to obtain from your rangefinder will play a big part in which rangefinder you choose.
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