Redfield Raider 650 - Budget Rangefinder
UPDATE: Leupold has sold the Redfield brand to Academy Sports who do not appear to be producing rangefinders at this time. For good alternatives to the Redfield Raider rangefinder line, check out our recently updated budget rangefinders page where we compare the most recent entry level and budget rangefinder offerings from major hunting optics manufacturers.
The Redfield rangefinder line appears unchanged, which isn't surprising after the line was completely redesigned last year with the Redfield Raider 650 models replacing the previous generation Raider 600 models. The slimmer housing, increase in ranging capability, and sub $200 price of the Raider 650 series will likely keep it competitive for at least a few years to come.
The upgrade from the original Redfield Raider 550 models to the Raider 600 series was mainly the addition of a little extra yardage and a few new variations such as a camo version and angle compensated version. However, the new Refield Raider 650 series is a complete redesign as evidenced by its new slimmer more traditional style rangefinder housing. Also of note, the Raider 650 series can be set to measure in either yards or meters, previously these rangefinders had to be ordered either in yards or meter versions. Redfield again made sure to include an angel compensated option as designated by models labeled Raider 650A.
There is one button on top of the rangefinder that does everything. Your programming choices are simple in that you have one choice; you can tell the unit to measure in yards or meters. If you choose to change this setting selecting yards or meters is done as follows: make sure the unit is off then press and hold the range button for 10 seconds and the unit will begin to toggle through yards or meters mode, next release the button when the unit is toggled on the desired yards or meters setting. Next, the eyepiece has an adjustable diopter to focus to the unit to your eyes. That’s it!
The Redfield Raider 650 uses a LCD display and it might just be the most clutter free display screen on any rangefinder. In the center of the screen is a reticle, and just over the top of the reticle the distance is returned in yards or meters. The real noteworthy thing here is that the battery life indicator doesn’t start showing up until the battery is half dead. This is something all rangefinders should be doing in our opinion. With several thousand distance readings per battery on most rangefinders why constantly use up screen space telling us we don’t need to worry about the battery? Well done Redfield.
The Raider is simple to use, one press of the button turns the unit on and the next press ranges the target. These Redfield Rangefinders are also equipped with a scan feature, again once press turns the unit on, next press and hold the button for continuous ranging of targets or updated ranges on a moving targets. This is a good feature to have to double check the range to your target quickly.
Range as the Name Implies
The Redfield Raider 650 continues their trend of bumping up ranging capability with each new version. Redfield now list the maximum range on reflective targets at 650 yards as the name indicates. They list the max range on inanimate objects like trees and rocks at 600 yards and 500 yards as max distance on deer. So these are pretty respectable numbers for a budget class rangefinder and should cover most normal hunting and shooting distances pretty well.
There still aren’t any target priority mode options, but in fairness this is a feature commonly left off in the budget rangefinder class with only the Nikon Aculon coming to mind as being equipped with any kind of target priority feature. Nonetheless, a “last” target priority mode can be useful when trying to range through cover such as brush and grass. Fortunately, for Redfield the ability of the new Raider 650 models to range in both yards and meters saved them from further nitpicking as having to buy either a meter or yards version in the previous models was a bit of an annoyance.
2 Part Warranty
As is customary with rangefinder guarantees, the Redfield Raider 650 series is covered in two parts. The unit itself is covered by Redfield’s “No Excuses” full lifetime warranty against defects in workmanship or materials. While the electronics are covered against these same defects but for only two years after the purchase date. Two years on the electronics seems to be becoming the standard for rangefinders which for an electronic device that is being used outdoors is pretty good. Speaking of outdoor use Redfield list the Raider 650’s as weatherproof not waterproof which is common among many entry level rangefinders.
The Redfield Raider 650 series and especially the 650A models continue to fare well against other budget rangefinders. The new slimmer housing makes the unit easier to conceal in a pocket or wear on a belt without getting in the way. The addition of being able to select between yards and meters was also a nice touch and at very least will keep someone for accidentally ordering the wrong version. Finally the battery icon not showing up on the display screen until it is half used is a great feature and one we would like other rangefinder manufactures to start incorporating. All in all this was a good evolution of the Redfield rangefinder line. The Redfield Raider 650A with angle compensation stands out as offering a lot of capability for a rangefinder in the under $200 price range.
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