Vortex Ranger 1000 Rangefinder Review
The Vortex Ranger 1000 is the company’s first entry into the laser rangefinder market. Vortex has a large product line of hunting optics including riflescopes, binoculars, red dot sights, spotting scopes, and now a rangefinder. The new Ranger rangefinder is compact and of the vertical design style, this combined with the fact that it features 6x magnification and is capable of giving angle compensated readings make it easy to categorize this unit as a dual purpose rangefinder.
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This Vortex rangefinder can be set to either yards or meters, can give line of sight or angle compensated distances, and its red OLED display has three manually controllable brightness settings. Also, unique for the Ranger is when in LOS (line of sight) mode it not only displays the light on sight yardage but also gives an incline percentage number which can be used in conjunction with shooting software programs for smartphones or customized drop charts. The Ranger 1000, as the name suggests, is capable of a maximum range of 1000 yards on reflective targets and ranging deer out to about 500 yards.
This new Vortex is very compact measuring under 4" long, 1.6" wide with the belt clip, and is right at 3" tall. The Ranger 1000 has a belt clip that can be mounted on either side of the unit so the user can clip the unit directly to his or her belt for quick access. The eyepiece on this rangefinder foldable for use with glasses and can be focused as it has +/- 3 diopters worth of adjustment. Beneath the eyepiece is where the battery compartment is located and the unit is powered by one CR2 battery. The Ranger is operate by the use of two buttons located on top of the unit with these buttons the unit can be set to the shooter’s preferred settings after which the unit is operated by a single button for targeting and ranging. The bottom of the rangefinder is also threaded so it can be mounted on a tripod.
Simple – The Vortex Ranger keeps operation simple while including all the useful features of a rangefinder designed to be used for either archery or rifle hunting. Better yet its default mode is set to give angle compensated readings in yards so most hunters won’t have to do any setup when they receive the unit. Side note: Vortex calls their angle compensation mode Horizontal Component Distance and is displayed on the screen as HCD when in the angle compensate mode.
Display – The Ranger 1000 uses a red OLED display for reporting distant readings; and while the debate still continues in the red vs. black display, one thing that is generally agreed upon is being able to manually control the brightness of a red display is a good thing. Vortex equipped this model with three manually controllable brightness settings, while the default medium setting will probably cover most situations when it is extremely bright out the user can up the brightness setting for better visibility, conversely in really low light conditions the lowest brightness setting can be used to avoid washing out the target with a display that is too bright.
Warranty – Rangefinders generally carry a 1 or 2 year limited warranty. Vortex decided to break away from the mold and offer a Limited Lifetime warranty on the new Vortex range finder. While not uncommon in the hunting optics community a Limited Lifetime warranty is unheard of on an optic like a laser rangefinder that incorporates so many electronics. The Vortex website states the warranty covers “any manufacture defects,” while a warranty like this sounds too good to be true, read some of the optics forums and you will quickly find that Vortex has an excellent reputation for standing behind their products.
No Target Priority – Unlike some of its competitors the Vortex rangefinder isn’t equipped with a target priority setting. However, the unit is equipped with a scan mode so if there is uncertainty about a reading you can use this feature to help counteract the lack of a target priority settings.
Belt Clip – Initially this seemed like a good idea, a slick way to carry the rangefinder and the reversible clip can be mounted on the left side too so even the lefties can’t complain. However, under most hunting conditions having more protection from the elements and better protection of the lenses from scratching would probably be desirable. While the clip can be removed there will still be a set of three mounting screws on each side that won’t be serving any use. However, even with the belt clip installed the rangefinder is still only 1.6” thick, but the jury is still out on how useful this feature will be.
INC – Some Bushnell rangefinders are capable of giving the angle of the shot in degrees; the Vortex rangefinder gives an incline percentage number that can be converted to the angle of the shot in degrees. While not having enough exposure to this calculation, its application, and level of usefulness we can’t offer much insight at this point; however at very least it is only one extra number displayed only on the Line of Sight mode which most hunters probably won’t use anyway. The potential upside being some long range shooters may find it useful, furthering the number of shooting applications the rangefinder can be used for.
The laser rangefinder field is relatively small in the number of models available when compared to other hunting optics categories, so it is always nice to see another option hit the market. The Vortex Ranger is an exciting new prospect especially for those looking for a dual purpose rangefinder for both archery and rifle hunting. The Ranger 1000 does a good job including the features that most hunters want on this type of rangefinder and was also able to keep the operation of this unit simple, an aspect many manufactures can’t seen to grasp. This new rangefinder from Vortex has the potential to give the Nikon Riflehunter 1000 a run for its money in the dual purpose category.
Bottom line – Vortex was late getting into the rangefinder game, but also used that to their advantage knowing what hunters want in a rangefinder and incorporating those features into a new model with the latest technologies. They also incorporated some unique features like the belt clip and incline percentage reading that have the potential to draw in more customers and with limited downside risk.
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