The military laser range finder has added a new lethality to improve strategic artillery strikes and sniper shots through more accurate yardage distance measurement and strike calculations.
Today laser rangefinders have become so advanced that they are now integrated into many optical sighting equipment such as binoculars and rifle sights.
Having a laser range finder as a part of in field weaponry allows a higher likelihood of neutralizing the enemy along with conserving ammunition. It can also contribute to lessening stress under fire by the soldier being able to trust in the laser rangefinder to provide strike information quickly and accurately.
The civilian laser rangefinder becomes valuable for hunting expeditions, especially when attempting long range shots. Here the digital laser range finder scout assists in calculating distance, trajectory, and impact lethality. Commercially the laser rangefinder has many uses, especially in the construction industry giving way to the traditional tape measures and other estimation techniques.
Sleek bullets and “trajectory-matched" elevation dials on rifle-scopes have extended the effective reach of riflemen with the requisite skills and rifle support—and accurate distance data. Without knowing the range, even accomplished marksmen with the best rifles and ammo are doomed to miss their first shot out yonder. In hunting, that’s the most important and often only shot.
Precise ranging mattered little when hunters used iron sights, as bullet drop inside reasonable shot yardage usually fell within the area subtended by the bead. If an animal seemed “pretty darned far” (say, over 200 yards), a hunter with .30-30-class load might shade high; but he d ordinarily try to get closer.
By the early 1960s, scopes had supplanted iron sights on most bolt-action rifles to make the most of flat-flying bullets. Range finding and -compensating innovations in reticles and elevation dials wooed hunters who had never killed a deer beyond 76 steps but were persuaded their next shot would come at 553.
At about the same time, Bushnell was launching its first laser rangefinders. Considerably lighter, smaller and less costly than military rangefinders of the day, they followed the pocket-sized “coincidence” rangefinder a company called Ranging had introduced. The Ranging device had plastic housings and two windows with lenses and prisms inside.
Through the windows, you’d “see double." To find the range, you spun a dial to merge the paired images, then read the range on a scale. Such instruments were a boon to bowhunters who got straight-line reads from tree-stands to nearby game trails. They were less useful to riflemen firing across long yardage, as the accuracy of coincidence rangefinders deteriorated at distance.
U.S. armed forces were first afield with laser rangefinders, which delivered 1 -yard precision at hundreds of yards. A laser beam sent to an object targeted with the unit’s reticle returned to trigger the rangefinder's internal clock.
As light travels at the constant speed of 186,000 miles per hour, the laser’s back-and-forth time converted readily to distance, which appeared in the rangefinder’s display. Bushnell peddled its first laser units not only to archers and riflemen, but also to golfers. Competition wasn’t long in coming.
Albeit technologically sophisticated, compact, civilian-legal laser rangefinders were inexpensive to replicate. No steel to machine. No big, costly lenses. Refinements quickly followed. Bushell’s G-Force 1300 delivered true horizontal ranges from 5 to 99 yards to serve bow hunters in their perches.
The travel distance of an arrow launched at a 45-degree angle is about half again as great as the horizontal distance. (High school geometry tells you that if horizontal range is 1, a 45-degree shot from one end of that measure gives you an arrow flight range equal to the square root of 2, or 1.41.) But the tug of gravity applies only to the horizontal distance.
So if you hold for the actual range, you'll miss high. This rule applies to rifle bullets, of course, but because bullet trajectories aren't as steep as those scribed by arrows, errors at modest ranges are smaller. And few long shots come at steep angles. Bushnell’s Angle Range Compensation (ARC) technology evolved as other companies added that function to their range finders. Leupold enhanced its True Ballistic Range (TBR) feature with readouts for horizontal range (yards) plus holdovers in minutes, mils and inches.
Bushnell’s G-Force added versatility with “bow” and “rifle” settings, and programmable zeroes from 100 to 800 yards. “Brush Mode" told the laser to ignore brush (or rain or snow).
In “Bullseye Mode," it locked onto the closest of several objects in a tight line at various ranges. “Scan Mode” updated the distance constantly if you panned an area or moved the G-Force to follow an animal. Those features were carried over into Bushnell’s current catalog of 11 handheld models.
Most rangefinders are waterproof and shock-resistant, use CR2 lithium batteries, feature 6X to 8X magnification and weigh 7 to 12 ounces. Multi-coated lenses boost light transmission. Focusing diopters help ensure the sharpest target images. A “grippy” rubber jacket is a blessing in rain and when your hands are cold.
Camouflage finishes makes no sense to me. You'll want to find that rangefinder more often than you’ll want it to vanish! Hydrophobic lens coatings like Bushnell’s RainGuard send raindrops skittering away. I’ll take generous eye relief over a wide field of view. An automatic shut-off saves battery. These are just some current features.
Building laser rangefinders into binoculars and rifle scopes was an obvious follow-up to pocket models, but the task wasn’t easy. Leica pioneered with its 7x42mm Geovid binocular nearly 30 years ago.
A fine if complex instrument, it delivered brilliant images and accurate, lightning fast ranges out to 1,000 yards. Alas, it weighed 3 pounds and cost $3,295-a price I noted then was $500 more than Ford charged for its first Mustang. Subsequent Geovids were lighter and even more optically advanced.
The fifth generation model boasts HD glass and accepts micro SD cards so you can input ballistic data from your favorite rifle cartridge to get precise bullet drop values out to 700 yards.
The Geovid factors in bullet trajectory, shot angle, your zero, even ambient temperature and barometric pressure. In my view, Leica's incorporation of a laser rangefinder in a superb and now nimble binocular is the answer to determining shot distances afield.
The Geovid is faster to use than a pocket rangefinder, as you needn’t drop your binocular and fumble with another device. It trumps a laser unit in a rifle scope because you needn’t move so much to employ it, or point your rifle where and when firing isn’t an option.
On the other hand, a laser in your scope gives you readouts as you start to press the rifle’s trigger, a big advantage if you’re following an animal through the sight, waiting for a standing shot. Swarovski fielded a sophisticated laser-ranging rifle-scope with its 2.5- pound 3-12x50mm LRS. It could reach out to 1,100 yards and cost $4,500.
Now the Austrian firm has shifted direction with its EL Range, a superb range-finding binocular. This roof prism binocular, available in 8x42mm or 10x42mm, weighs just 3 ounces more than parent models: 28-ounce ELs without laser-ranging units. The barrels of the EL Ranges have a bit more bulk in their bellies but are still sleek and nimble in hand.
With 1 -yard accuracy from 30 to 1,375 yards, these Swarovski binoculars have all the reach hunters need. At $3,610, they aren't cheap—but neither is its only competition, Leica’s Geovid. Both deliver peerless optical quality and laser-ranging capabilities to match or beat those in handheld units.
Still, pocket rangefinders remain popular because of their size and affordability. They’re much less costly than a laser ranging scope or binocular if you already have good hunting optics. So here are some of the most advanced and popular rangefinders now defining that market.
ATN’s new Laser Ballistics Digital 1000 and 1500 rangefinders boast Bluetooth connections to phones and tablets so you get instant data for scope adjustments (mils and MOA). These 6X units work from 5 to 1,000 and 5 to 1,500 yards, respectively, on reflective targets with 1 -yard accuracy, and they weigh only 5.4 ounces.
Bushnell now offers the 7x26mm Elite 1 Mile CONX. It interfaces with Android and Apple smartphones to tap data you can apply to three ballistic arcs, for hold over in inches, centimeters, minutes or mils. The 12.1-ounce unit ranges from 5 to 1,760 yards and has a diopter as well as a tripod adapter.
The 6x22mm RX 1 200i TBR/W from Leupold has an OLED display that yields “three times greater light transmission" than LCD units and shows holdover and wind-drift data for cartridges. This 7.8- ounce unit has angle and scan modes, 17mm of eye relief, reticle options and a 900-yard, non-reflective reach.
The 6x21 mm Nikon ProStaff 7i reads ranges from 8 to 1,300 yards, with 0.1 -yard accuracy under 1,000 yards, at which it can range deer. It offers a generous 18mm of eye relief. Modes include target-specific and eight-second continuous reads, plus angle correction. A bargain at $300, this 6.2-ounce rangefinder is Nikon’s best.
Sig Sauer's 7x25mm KIL02000 has 15mm of eye relief behind a 4.2-inch body. Advertised to read the distance to reflective objects 2 miles away, it will range a deer to 1,200 yards in 0.25 seconds. This 7.5-ounce optic has a fast scan mode and reads within 0.1 yards out to 100 yards.
The Ranger 1500 and 1000 from Vortex Optics have 6X magnification and 17mm of eye relief. They offer scan and angle-corrected modes as well as an actual line of sight (LOS) mode. The 22mm lens fronts a 3.9-inch body that slips easily into cargo pockets. The Rangers are also affordable at $599 and $499, respectively.
A word from a curmudgeon on rangefinder functions: Complexity itself is hardly ever an asset. Even if “extra” functions are inexpensive and don’t add weight or bulk to the unit, navigating a plethora of choices can delay distance read you must make quickly. You’re smart to test a rangefinder before you buy one. Try it outside, “lasering” into shadow and sunlight, at dull objects.
Determine maximum reach. You may succeed in getting a read to the advertised distance on a stainless institutional meat locker. But you’ll find the limit on smaller, non-reflective objects much abbreviated. Time yourself as you pull the rangefinder from a pocket and press the button at small targets.
Like a rifle, the unit should point quickly and operate intuitively. Other assets matter less. While some range finders boast 0.1-yard precision, I’m satisfied with the 1-yard standard. Hell, if I could judge within 20 yards the actual distance to a rifle target and 3 yards to a deer I hoped to arrow, I'd have no use for a rangefinder at all!
You cannot see as well with the naked eye as with a binocular. Look into thick cover and then look again with a 6x glass, and you will be amazed at how many openings, logs and other objects you failed to notice before come into focus. Game can see that well and even better.
One of the necessary qualities of a hunter's eye is proper perspective. When I first began hunting over 60 years ago, it was difficult for me to see game. The valleys were wide and the ridges far apart, yet the rarified atmosphere was so clear that objects stood out prominently at long distances.
In that clear mountain air I had no sense of how big rocks and trees might be or how far away. Before I obtained my first binocular, it took me a while to tell how far away a game animal was by its apparent size to my naked eye.
Many hunters who have done most of their shooting in forested areas are poor judges of distance on open country. They can't tell whether an animal is 200 or 600 meters away. Today we can correct this by using a laser rangefinder to check our naked eye judgement.
Laser rangefinders come in several makes and models and some give a direct reading for the distance as well as computing the bullet's trajectory. However, all the hunter really needs to know is the distance, which will tell him whether the game is within shooting range or he has to stalk closer. There are a number of affordable rangefinders that will do this.
Often game that shows up within shooting distance is alert, and there will be no need to range it. The ideal situation for using a laser rangefinder occurs when game is a long way off and undisturbed. This gives you plenty of time to range it and decide whether to risk a long shot or plan a stalk that will get you within sure hitting distance.
Rangefinders are excellent for helping you to establish distance firmly in your mind, if you take the trouble to make dry practice runs with them when you are not hunting. Look at an object with your naked eye and guess how far away it is, then check how accurate your estimate was.
The best way to prepare for a hunt is to spend a lot of time looking at objects through your binocular and rangefinder so that you can size them up quickly and efficiently. This applies not only to deer but to game a hunter should be familiar with in his home territory.
Developing a good game eye may be easy or hard, depending upon your alertness, your ambition to excel as a hunter, and how hard you work at it. But your increased success and satisfaction will more than compensate you for your efforts.
Included in our above selection of laser rangefinders are a number of tactical laser sights to assist in acquiring targets with a visible dot signature to mark the intended impact point. This can help with faster on target confirmation and low light situations where iron sights just can't compete. There are many different laser sighting systems each with a specific purpose, getting yours at these great prices can be very satisfying.
The laser rangefinder can be used by the hunter, archer or even the golfer. Simply aim the laser rangefinder at your required target and receive the required range information.
Other products in this category are the laser bore sight to hone in your firearms accuracy with absolute pin point accuracy. We stock the best brands such as Nikon Laser Rangefinder, Bushnell Laser Rangefinders, Swarovski Laser Rangefinders and many more popular models such as the Scout 1000 ARC, Leica LRF 800 and some sporting military style camouflage coatings....
This lightweight, handheld, yardage rangefinder is a combat essential - it was specifically designed to greatly improve long range shooting, and generate accurate distances to longer range objects. The RX-1000i works best as a combat optic for a designated marksman or his spotter as it is limited to 1000 yards on reflective targets, but is very effective and consistent out to over 600 yards on soft targets.
(TBR) technology can be set up to give ballistic compensation in mils so it works quickly with the adjustments and mil-dot reticles on most DM-geared platforms. The optics are extremely clear and bright so it can be used as a 6X monocular as well. The RX-1000i employs an OLED dispiay which allows for 3X greater light transmission capability over competitive LCD screens, allowing for greater resolution in low light level situations. It weighs 8 ounces and uses CR2 lithium batteries.
Laser rangefinders work by emitting laser beams at the push of a button. The beams bounce off distant objects and the rangefinder's high-speed clock measures the total time it took from when the beam left the unit untii it returned. Using that time measurement, the rangefinder calculates the distance and displays it to the user.
The old methods of range "estimation" have been largely replaced with laser rangeflnders. Knowing the exact distance to a long-range target is crucial, as a bullet's path or drop rate increases with distance. These tools have become advanced, with some models measuring well beyond any reasonable shooting distance and can even inform the shooter of uphill or downhill angles that reduce the effects of the earth's gravitational pull on the bullet's trajectory when compared to long-range shots over flat ground.
The Gunwerks "shooting system" includes a Laser Technology Trupulse G7 BR2 rangefinder. This unit has the ability to measure at distances out to 2,500 yards under ideal circumstances, but it also compensates for atmospheric conditions and gives a "corrected" yardage out to 1,400 yards. Reading wind speed and angle is also critical for long-range success, which can also be input into this unit for correction.
Compact and accurate within 1/10th of a yard out to 1200 yards, the top product in Leupold's rangfinding line-up, gets you ranging right and ready for a confident shot.
The TBR (True Ballistic Range) and wind gauge functions also tell you how much to compensate in elevation or drift according to caliber, your scope's zero distance, angle of shot and wind conditions, particularly if you are running Leupold's ballistic reticle.
I've been using the earlier 1000 model for a few years now and the sight picture is clear and the range-finding fast and accurate. It's also a very lightweight, compact and handy item you can keep close to hand if your binoculars don't have a range-finding feature.
A choice of reticles in a red that doesn't throw your natural vision, 6x magnification, fully coated lenses, scan mode and a choice of yard and meter readings makes this one of the best choices among the current selection of dedicated rangefinders on the market.
Yeah, there are cheaper models, but in the last hour of light when you reach for your cheapie you'll be lucky if you can see anything let alone range effectively. This product does the job. And in bright orange camouflage, you're less likely to lose it when you put it down to take your shot.
Originally designed for military and tactical purposes, the hunter-friendly Recon laser rangefinder features 6X magnification and a simple, easy-to-understand internal LCD display.
This unit ranges distances out to 1,000 yards. It also helps hunters hit what they aim at, because its VAC (Vertical Angle Compensation) technology compensates for the trajectory of arrows out to 120 yards and bullets out to 1,000 yards.
Sporting 6X magnification and an easy-to-read display, Opti-Logic's Recon laser rangefinder uses angle compensation software to help hunters compensate for trajectory.
Powered by a single long-life CR123A battery, the low-current draw of the compact and lightweight (less than 8 ounces) Recon will provide up to 2,500 "shots" on a single battery.
As with all Opti-Logic products, the Recon includes a full two-year warranty against manufacturer's defects. SRP: S359.95.
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