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Thread: What's a good rangefinder?

  1. #1
    *Flashaholic* LuxLuthor's Avatar
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    Default What's a good rangefinder?

    I'm thinking of getting a nice rangefinder for measuring spotlight and maglite mod throw. I know Bushnell makes a bunch of them. Any recommendations?

    These Bushnell 1500's range out to 1500 yards (almost a mile) with 1 yard accuracy. Pretty amazing.
    Last edited by LuxLuthor; 04-30-2007 at 02:43 AM.

  2. #2
    *Flashaholic* Patriot's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's a good rangefinder?

    As a bow hunter I've owned laser rangerfinders since they first hit the market. I owned Bushnell models, Nikons and now I'm on my 3rd set of Leica's. I first owned the 800s, then the 1200s and now the 1200 CRF. I'm completely hooked on them. The thing that I like about the Leica's is that is has a real optic, unlike most others where you have to view through a LCD. The LCD darkens the image significantly and clouds it with tiny artifacts. During bright daylight this isn't even an issue, but during low light or night time they're nearly useless. The Leica's are bright and clear and can even be aimed and operated in the dark.

    The LCD models display black digits and can't be seen in low light without the assistance of red backlighting on the LCD. The Leica's displays red digits against a perfectly clear background. Your image doesn't wash out with a sea of red LED light when you activate the laser, thus destroying your view of the target for 3-5 seconds.

    Another feature that I like about the Leica's is that they're more ruggedly constructed. The Bushnell's seem to be more sensitive to shock. The alignment of my Bushnell 800s got knocked out even though I had been careful with them. The same thing happened to my Nikons years later and had to be sent back for warranty repair. When they lose alignment your aiming point through the viewfinder doesn't match the point of impact from the laser. It's really annoying when then happens especially when you know that they haven't been dropped or anything. I've had no alignment issues with Leica and the point of impact matches the reticle precisely. I've even ranged off of a power line (a single wire) at over 400 yards.

    As far as the advertised specs go. Leica is similar to Surefire that their performance is underrated. No, they won't range beyond the 1200 yards stated, but they operate very well under a wide variety of conditions when the others struggle a bit. They seem to range at long distances in bright daylight off of very small targets. They range well through rainfall to. The Bushnell, Nikons and others seem to be more cranky about the size and color of target especially during bright daylight. My hunting buddies have all switched to Leica after using mine a few times. They eveb range off of Paloverde trees at maximum range in bright saturated light. My Nikon's would not do this.

    Unlike flashlights, you're probably only going to own one rangefinder. It's really worth the extra $100 -$200 dollars to get something that is going to give you decades of good service instead of dealing with a piece of equipment that's going to be occasionally aggravating. I don't think you could go wrong with Leica.

  3. #3
    *Flashaholic* LuxLuthor's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's a good rangefinder?

    Perfect information and voice of experience. Any recommendations on best place to buy them?

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    *Flashaholic* Patriot's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's a good rangefinder?

    Quote Originally Posted by LuxLuthor
    Perfect information and voice of experience. Any recommendations on best place to buy them?
    Since they're really aren't any discounts on Leica products because of retail monitoring by the manufacturer, any reputable on-line store should be fine.

    I've dealt with Optics Planet before and the treated me very well.
    http://www.opticsplanet.net/leica-la...gefinders.html

  5. #5

    Default Re: What's a good rangefinder?

    Good post P36!

    I have owned a Leica rangefinder for a couple of years now and it's flawless.

    Another thing to mention is 'Pan & Scan' functionality. Holding on to a target and then following or switching targets altogether without having to take your finger off the button to re-acquire is almost a necessity in my opinion. The lesser units don't have this capability.

    I have owned a Nikon and a Bushnell unit as well and I did not consider their inconsistency to be a good value for the price. I'm too fussy, but if you're not, they should work fine. I typically try to hold off and get the best gear off the bat. Never again. Hoping and experimenting always costs more in the long run...

    Also, as P36 mentioned, get your Leica from any reputable dealer, cuz price breaks are few and far between on their gear unless it's old stock.

    Dutch

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    *Flashaholic* jtice's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's a good rangefinder?

    Hm, darn, I keep seeing some Bushnells on sale for about $200 that do 1000 yards that I was thinking of getting.
    Seems they arent the way to go?
    Nothing I do is real intense, I just want to know how far out my targets are mainly.

    ~John

  7. #7

    Default Re: What's a good rangefinder?

    Quote Originally Posted by jtice
    Hm, darn, I keep seeing some Bushnells on sale for about $200 that do 1000 yards that I was thinking of getting.
    Seems they arent the way to go?
    Nothing I do is real intense, I just want to know how far out my targets are mainly.

    ~John
    I fell into the same predicament my Friend...

    Cry once.

    Are there Folks who will say they work just fine? Yup. Not for me though. Even in legal shooting light, be prepared to not see your numbers. Be prepared for inconsistent results.

    How many shots you gonna get at that Buck/Elk/Moose?

    Love my Leica!

    No, I don't work for them, but I wish I did!!

    Dutch

  8. #8
    *Flashaholic* Patriot's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's a good rangefinder?

    Quote Originally Posted by jtice
    Hm, darn, I keep seeing some Bushnells on sale for about $200 that do 1000 yards that I was thinking of getting.
    Seems they arent the way to go?
    Nothing I do is real intense, I just want to know how far out my targets are mainly.

    ~John
    hey jtice, the Bushnell's aren't necessarily bad. I guess that I was speaking to Lux specifically. After seeing many pictures of his flashlight collection, I know that he really appreciates high performance equipment and also had a use for a rangefinder after it was dark out. Tens of thousands of people use and enjoy non-Leica rangefinders. They're hugely popular with golfers, boaters, and hunters around the world. Just like everything else, there is a compromise between price and performance. For a person using a rangefinder predominantly during daylight hours the Bushnell will probably do everything that you need it to and more. In ideal conditions both rangefinders will tell you that a garage door is 1200 yards away just like a Fenix light will light your path just as well as a Surefire. The difference between the brands is more evident when the type of use demands more performance. If it's a tool that will be getting used everyday, or may be exposed to a water environment or has to be absolutely precise, or is going to be used mostly after dark, then it may be worth it to spend the extra money. Some people don't really need this type of performance and a less expensive rangefinder will work great for them 98% of the time. I had mentioned to Lux that unlike flashlights, most people are going to be happy with one rangefinder (even an optics nut like myself) so buy the best that you can afford. In the end you might compromise a bit and that's fine according to your use requirements.

    If you want to send a link to the specific model that you're interested in, I'll give you my opinion vs. another similarly priced model. I spend lots of time every week critiquing binoculars, rangefinders, and other optics and I may notice some characteristics that someone else might not notice.

  9. #9
    *Flashaholic* LuxLuthor's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's a good rangefinder?

    $600 for 2/3 mile (1200 yards). Have to think a while...but I don't doubt that this is the best.

    What is this other Leica LRF 1200 (Black) model that is also 1200 yards?
    Last edited by LuxLuthor; 04-30-2007 at 04:03 PM.

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    Default Re: What's a good rangefinder?

    Quote Originally Posted by LuxLuthor
    $600 for 2/3 mile (1200 yards). Have to think a while...but I don't doubt that this is the best.

    What is this other Leica LRF 1200 (Black) model that is also 1200 yards?
    Oops, sorry Lux. Try here:
    http://range-finders.binoculars.com/...c=Rangefinders
    More specifically:
    http://range-finders.binoculars.com/...ack-14552.html

    For some reason Optics Planet is showing the CRF for price for the standard 1200 scan model. I believe that's a mistake on their part.
    Last edited by Patriot; 04-30-2007 at 05:00 PM.

  11. #11

    Default Re: What's a good rangefinder?

    I've been using the Bushnell Scout for hunting and golfing for about 5 years. I've pretty much beat the crap out of this thing and it still works perfect. The reason I picked up the Scout was for it's very small size. I agree that the higher end models are worth every penny but they all do a pretty good job. Like others have said, Make sure it has the scan function!

  12. #12

    Default Re: What's a good rangefinder?

    I have no opinion whatsoever on rangefinders, but this thread reminds me of when I watched Star Wars during its initial release in the theaters in the 70's, and how as a 10 year old, it was PURE FANTASY when Luke stopped his landspeeder and pulled out those range-finding field glasses.

    Ahh, technology and gadgets!!

  13. #13
    *Flashaholic* LuxLuthor's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's a good rangefinder?

    OK, this looks good for the 1200. Are the CRF models more expensive just because of a smaller size?

  14. #14
    *Flashaholic* jtice's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's a good rangefinder?

    The one I see on sale for about $200 the most is the Bushnell Scout.
    http://www.bushnell.com/general/rang...ection=Hunting

    I like how small it is, but 700 yards isnt all that great of a distance.

    Or this model,
    http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/te...nder&noImage=0

    Then, it seems this is a better version of the original Scout? The Legend
    http://www.bushnell.com/general/rang...ection=Hunting
    http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/te...l&N=4887&Nty=1

    That one seems to be one of the best Bushnells for the money.

    I am having a hard time justifying anything over $300,
    as I wont use it ALOT, and I dont hunt.
    This is mainly for daytime shooting, setting up range targets for pistols and rifles.
    The minimum distance is also important to me, some only go down to 15 to 20 yards, which for my needs is cutting it close.

    Any opinions on those?
    Or what the best one to buy for $300 or under would be? (any brand)

    ~John

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    Default Re: What's a good rangefinder?

    double tap
    Last edited by CM; 05-01-2007 at 07:32 AM.

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    Default Re: What's a good rangefinder?

    +1 on Leica LRF1200.
    Last edited by CM; 05-06-2007 at 03:42 PM.

  17. #17

    Default Re: What's a good rangefinder?

    Jtice,
    Here's your best bet...

    Find a brick and mortar store in your area and see if they'll take it back in a certain timeframe if you're unhappy with the performance of whatever you get. A lot of places like Gander Mtn. have a great return policy.

    Take your time and range a bunch of stuff in the store.

    Even get the sales guy to walk out into the parking lot with you so you can try them outside. You might find your answers pretty quickly.

    Of the lower priced units, I liked the Nikon over the Bushnell and I have used them both.

    Dutch

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    Flashaholic* gorn's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's a good rangefinder?

    I just spoke to my son via chat. He is currently in Iraq. He is a Scout Sniper. They are issued Bushnell range finders that have a range of around 1000 yards. He isn't sure which model it is. He says they work great.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: What's a good rangefinder?

    I was just playing with a friend's Swarovski range finder that he recently picked up.
    http://www.opticsplanet.net/swarov-l...der-70002.html
    That was some nice glass! I think he is spoiled for life now and will likely replace many of his Leupold scopes.
    $$$$

  20. #20
    *Flashaholic* LuxLuthor's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's a good rangefinder?

    Quote Originally Posted by grillmasterp
    I was just playing with a friend's Swarovski range finder that he recently picked up.
    http://www.opticsplanet.net/swarov-l...der-70002.html
    That was some nice glass! I think he is spoiled for life now and will likely replace many of his Leupold scopes.
    $$$$
    LOL...yeah that does look sweet....until you see the price. I have pretty much decided on the Leica 1200, just not sure what the difference is with the two versions...is it just a smaller size, or are there actual features in the CRF that are better?

  21. #21
    *Flashaholic* Patriot's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's a good rangefinder?

    The only superior features on the CRF are size, weight, 8% larger exit pupil (this is very minimal) and single shot accuracy when handheld, compared to the 1200 model on single shot. Since the CRF is more ergonomically designed as compared to the square style, the lasing button only requires half the depression force resulting in less shaking when handheld.

    Compared to the CRF he 1200 Scan is slightly larger, (the size of a sandwich) a few oz heavier, and has one more extra external lense to keep clean. (3 instead of 2) The 1200 Scan is less accurate on a single laser shot although that's not really an issue since both models scan. The 1200 Scans 9V battery lasts quite a bit longer than the CRF's CR2, especially when used with a lithium.

    Quite honestly, the 1200 Scan is a better value. Unless you need your rangfinder it fit into a small, breast pocket there isn't much of a point to spending the extra money on the CRF.

    Note: The Leicas will sometimes range further than 1200 yards. I've ranged a house at night time at 1342 yards. Depending on conditions you may occasionally see performance exceed specification. Leica does not overate their specs like some companies. They under promise and over deliver. I like that!
    Last edited by Patriot; 05-03-2007 at 10:41 PM.

  22. #22
    *Flashaholic* LuxLuthor's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's a good rangefinder?

    OK, good feedback, thanks!

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    Default Re: What's a good rangefinder?

    John, having had an oportunity to briefly use all of the models that you linked, this one is the best value:
    http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/templates/links/link.jsp?id=0027403711049a&type=product&cmCat=sear ch&returnPage=search-results1.jsp&QueryText=range+finder&N=4887&Ntk=Pro ducts&Ntx=mode+matchall&Nty=1&Ntt=range+finder&noI mage=0

    It's hits 800 yards easily without repeated lasing. The body of the 800 is more robust and has a more solid feel. It's designed to be used with one or two hands and it a great general purpose rangefinder. My friend Rob, has had one of these for about 3 years and I've used it often.

    The Scout is designed for people who need something very compact at the expense of outright performance and flexibility. It's marketed to bowhunters specifically, who usually range at a 100 yards and under. It's maximum range of 700 yards is a stretch and that's if you're aiming at a house. In bright daylight on a medium sized animal your looking at 200-350 yards real world performance. Often you end up just lasing the largest thing near the animal (like a tree) to get range, because it's much easier than trying to get a reflection off the animal itself.

    The Legend has good performance and the big plus...it's waterproof unlike the other models. My problem with this model is that now you're within $125 bucks of the Mercedes-Benz quality Leica 1200 Scan, which smokes the Legend in every measured catagory, plus the catagories that are harder to measure with numbers such as optical quality. I can't overstate this enough, the LCD based veiwfinders are not even in the same league optically. It would be like the difference between a tool box battered lexan mag lense compared to a brand new 1.90mm UCL. The Lecias are also extremely rugged, have a nicer feel and the benefit of Leica Warranty service should you ever need it.

    You just have to consider what your uses are going to be vs. your budget.
    Last edited by Patriot; 05-03-2007 at 11:33 PM.

  24. #24
    *Flashaholic* LuxLuthor's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's a good rangefinder?

    Here's a handy free utility that incorporates into your browser to give nice short URL's that don't mess up the display:

    http://tinyurl.com/ynoap9

  25. #25
    *Flashaholic* CLHC's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's a good rangefinder?

    Leica is certainly up there for their RangeFinders. There's also Leupold's line to check out, if one wishes to.

    http://www.eagleoptics.com/index.asp?pid=4715

    Enjoy!
    LUX'Ottica

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    Default Re: What's a good rangefinder?

    Would the Bushnell Yardage Pro Legend be considered a good but if it were cheaper? I just saw model# 20-0003W (the black one) at Costco today for $249.99 and it comes with a case and a CR2 battery. The item number at Costco is 128186. I was thinking about getting a rangefinder one of these days for air rifle shooting and trying to teach myself to become good at estimating distance. Is it a good rangefinder and is it a good deal? Thanks.

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    Flashaholic* Lunal_Tic's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's a good rangefinder?

    I was actually thinking about a range finder too but mainly as a way of telling the target distance when doing a flashlight shoot out. I take it that the Leica will work better for this since it uses a real optic?

    -LT
    lunal tic (n)
    a distinctive behavioral trait or quirk directly related to or caused by light [15th cent. Latin lunaris. Ultimately from an IE word meaning “light,”] and [Early 19th cent. Italian ticchio.] see also: moon quirk

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    *Flashaholic* jtice's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's a good rangefinder?

    Patriot36,

    Thanks for the comments, that helped.
    I am also thinking the Yardard Pro 800 is the best for me,
    This wont see too much hardcore use, and I dont need it super small.
    For the amount of use it will get, I think the price on that one is just right.

    Thanks
    ~John

  29. #29
    *Flashaholic* Patriot's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's a good rangefinder?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rayne
    Would the Bushnell Yardage Pro Legend be considered a good but if it were cheaper? I just saw model# 20-0003W (the black one) at Costco today for $249.99 and it comes with a case and a CR2 battery. The item number at Costco is 128186. I was thinking about getting a rangefinder one of these days for air rifle shooting and trying to teach myself to become good at estimating distance. Is it a good rangefinder and is it a good deal? Thanks.
    Rayne, that's a great price for a small waterproof rangefinder that works well on a wide variety of targets well past 800 yards. That's the best price on the unit that I've ever seen.

    ***John*** Rayne found the the Pro Legend at Costo for a $249. He included the item# above. That's hard to beat for the money. It's water/moisture proof too!!

  30. #30
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    Default Re: What's a good rangefinder?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lunal_Tic
    I was actually thinking about a range finder too but mainly as a way of telling the target distance when doing a flashlight shoot out. I take it that the Leica will work better for this since it uses a real optic?

    -LT
    It's not so much that the Leica will "work better" it's just that it might be more enjoyable to use depending on what you're using it for. If you just need to know that a tree is 177 yards away, a bushnell, nikon or leupold is going to do just as well of a job as the leica. If you want to see what kind of bird is sitting on the 3rd branch up and then examine it's colors, the leica or swarovski are best. At night time when doing a flashlight shootout you have the option to just illuminate your target with a flashlight or spotlight in order to then range it. It will be easier with a true optic rangefinder and in that sense you could say that it would "work better" One of the missing stats in most range finders is that they rarely talk about field of view. Most inexpesive rangefinders can give the user a bit of a "toilet paper tube" effect, where you have to hunt for your target while looking through it. The true optic range finders have a huge field of veiw (measured by degrees or feet/yards viewable at 1000 yards/meters) with a clear image from edge to edge. This makes it easier to center your target in a background with lots of clutter or when there isn't a lot of light to distinguish one tree from the next.

    When there is less available light as in dawn, dusk, or dimly lit night, the leica have a huge advantage because of the 15% - 35% greater light transmission through the optic. At night time the leica and swarovski can be used with just the light of a full moon because you can actually see objects through the range finder. With other rangefinders you put them up to your eye only to see a black void, and that's fine if you primarily use it during the daytime.

    In low light, one of the characteristics of a (view through the crystal)rangefinder is that they can only display range information with black display. In order to see the image after the range is displayed the unit must backlight the LCD display with a red wash of LED light. When this happens it reds out your view of what ever you were just aiming or looking at and you can't take another look or range reading until the default 3-5 second illumination time of the LED turns off. A frustrating scenario with low light backlighting could be; you're aiming at a small moving animal, you miss it with your first laze and accidentally, but knowingly hit it object behind it. The screen goes red to display the range to the target that you didn't intend to hit. Now the animal is getting away while your view is washed out for several seconds. As soon as the red LED shuts off then you're able to see through the viewfinder and can try again and hopefully the animal is still there.

    The leica and swarovski don't have this problem. It doesn't need to use backlighting because the display characters (the aiming reticle and range info) are displayed in red. The red characters also auto-adjust for ambient light. During the daytime they become bright enough to see against almost any background. At nighttime or low light the display auto-dims itself so that it doesn't destroy the night vision of your eye.
    Last edited by Patriot; 05-04-2007 at 02:45 PM.

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