Leupold RX-850i TBR DNA - Bow and Rifle Rangefinder
The Leupold RX-850i TBR DNA is the latest addition to the Leupold RX rangefinder line. This rangefinder is a full featured unit that incorporates many technologies found on higher end models, and also includes a unique Trophy Scale mode. However, does this rangefinder find the right balance of purpose, performance, and price?
The Leupold RX-850i TBR is an ultra compact rangefinder that features a 6x magnification and black LCD display. It has a maximum range of 850 yards on reflective targets, 750 yards on trees, and 650 yards on deer, and is capable of displaying angle compensated distances and holdovers. Also of note, this rangefinder contains a Last Target priority setting as well as Leupold’s Trophy Scale technology used for judging antler size. Next, this unit is powered by one CR2 battery, is rated as waterproof and covered by a limited 2 year warranty. Finally this rangefinder can be operated in three different modes which are LOS, Bow, or Rifle.
LOS & Bow Modes
The LOS (line of sight mode) on the RX-850i TBR is very simple in that it returns the distance to the target without factoring in the angle of the shot or calculating any ballistic holdovers. The Bow mode is also pretty straightforward, it returns angle compensated distances in yards or meters out to 125 yards, past 125 yards it reports distance in without accounting for the angle and lets the shooter know by flashing a LOS icon. Also, while in Bow mode the unit will display the angle of the shot in degrees, although we don’t really see a practical need for this measurement when bow hunting.
The rifle mode on the RX-850i TBR is by far the most customizable of the three modes. In Rifle mode the user can select the unit to return angle compensated distances in yards or meters by selecting the BAS mode. The user can also choose to select one of the 7 ballistic groups that closest matches their hunting cartridge and receive ranges in terms of holdover; here the options are inches, cm, mil, or MOA. The RX-850i TBR is capable of calculating these holdover measurements out to 800 yards but considering the factors the unit does and does not calculate for, 500 yards is probably about the maximum distance one would want to use these holdovers readings at. There is also a mode called Trig that is able to calculate the height of objects, and while not really a hunting mode is a nice bonus feature.
A unique feature that is only found on a couple of Leupold rangefinder models is Trophy Scale which aids the shooter in estimating antler size. Here the user chooses a measurement between 10” and 60” as a base measurement to judge with. The rangefinder will then show the user what this distance looks like any given range as represented by a bracket. This bracket allows the operator to compare the known measurement size the bracket represents with the antlers of the animal they are ranging to estimate antler spread. You can also flip the rangefinder 90 degrees and use it to estimate the height of the antlers. The display will show the bracket for up to 45 seconds in this mode so you have ample time to get a measurement.
This rangefinder offers many of the same features that the higher end Leupold RX-1200i TBR/W series does and while the RX850i TBR doesn’t have the aluminum housing, red OLED display and a few other things; it does offer a good budget alternative for those that cannot afford the premium Leupold version. Last Target Priority is always high on our want list for any hunting rangefinder, and the RX-850i TBR is equipped with one. Last Target Priority mode is useful when trying to range an animal through cover such as tall grass or brush, as it tells the unit to display the furthest of two objects reported on a single reading. Finally, this rangefinder is rated as waterproof vs. the weatherproof rating of many rangefinders; so the ability of this unit to handle an inadvertent submersion in water is as a good thing because ‘stuff happens’ when hunting.
This unit can suffer from a bit of screen clutter especially when the Trophy Scale mode is in use; however, this is more of a minor annoyance than a fundamental problem and much of the information isn’t displayed until after the range is taken. Also, speaking of Trophy Scale in order to use the brackets effectively you need to have a good look at the animal's rack either directly from the front or rear while the animal is staying somewhat still, which can be difficult to manage in the field. So one should think of Trophy Scale as more of a bonus feature to aid in judging rack size if things work out right rather than a feature to rely on.
The RX-850i TBR falls somewhere in between the our archery rangefinder category and our dual purpose rangefinder category. We like to think of it more as a budget dual purpose model as it doesn’t have the high end metal housing or OLED display that many of those dual purpose models have, nor does it have the extreme 1200+ yard maximum range capability most of those models have. However, it does offer a similar feature set and covers the majority of hunting situations the average hunter is likely to face, and does so at a deeply discounted price when compared to the higher end models.
The Leupold RX-850i TBR has the ability to give angle compensated readings and is equipped with a Last Target priority mode, which are two of the main criteria to look for on a good hunting rangefinder. Also, its 6x magnification makes it suitable for bowhunting or rifle hunting use, and does so in a compact package that is easy to carry. Ultimately this rangefinder is probably best suited for those hunters that want a good versatile rangefinder that is capable of handling most all common hunting ranges and yet doesn’t cost them the $400 - $500 dollars that premium dual purpose rangefinders sell for. The RX-850i TBR is currently available online for around $250.
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