Best Rangefinder for Hunting
If you want to make the best out of your shots then having a range finder is a must. The rangefinder is a versatile device that’s not only great for hunting but also works well of golf, archery, etc. A rangefinder for hunting has its own criteria. You know that accuracy and aim are important for every hunting expedition.
Therefore, a rangefinder will help you with information between you and your target to ensure that you can aim with the right amount of accuracy. So, choosing the best rangefinder for your hunting expedition is a very important part.
Range finders have been a necessity for hunters for ages. It has gone through quite some changes over the years which brought up a new function in the device to help improve the accuracy. However, not all rangefinder is created equal, so, the purpose of this article is to help you find the one that’s the best fit for you.
There are numerous brands out there with an outstanding range of features. However, the tough task is to find the one within your budget and the one that meets all your requirements. After thorough research among the brands available in the market, we have brought you the best of the best so that you can make the most out of your hunting expedition.
What is Hunting Rangefinder?
A rangefinder fires an invisible laser beam at the target and the internal clock measurer the time it takes the laser to reach the target and hit back. This method allows the rangefinder to measure the distance with a precision of +/- 1 yard. More reflective objects can be ranged at a more extended distance.
Rangefinders have a variety of uses. Along with hunting, they can also be used for golfing, archery, etc. If you’re a serious or a passionate hunter then a rangefinder is a must-have in your gearbox.
Top 10 Picks for Best Rangefinder for Hunting
This bad boy is one of the best creations by Nikon and its one of the top favorites by rangers around the world. The rule of thumb when it comes to rangefinder is that smaller is better.
The Nikon 8397 has a dimension 3.6″x2.9″x1.5″ inches with a weight of only 6.4 ounces with the batteries. It can easily fit in the pocket and it’s around the size of a regular smartphone. Therefore, when it comes to portability, the Aculon is hard to beat.
The Aculon features a multilayer coating which provides a higher light transmittance over the entire visible light spectrum. The layer ensures a clearer and more natural view by minimizing the loss of light due to reflection.
It has a super easy operating process. If you’re looking for a simple and easy to use rangefinder then the Aculon is a great fit for you as it features a single button operation. As soon as you push the button, it starts to deliver accurate readings from 6-yards to 550-yards.
One of the best features of this device is that it’s programmed to show the furthest target amongst the group and this feature comes handy if the target has obstacles like grass and bush in between.
This rangefinder comes with a 6x zoom with 20mm lenses. It includes a high eyepoint design that provides a clear view between the user’s brow and the rangefinder. Therefore, you’ll get a full and clear view even if you’re wearing sunglasses. So, this one will be the best rangefinder for the hunting field.
|Easy operating process||Doesn’t go beyond 550 yards|
|Provides accurate and precise result|
|Comes with 6x zoom and 20mm lenses|
|Shows the furthest target|
|Single-button operating system|
|Compact and lightweight design|
|Includes a ballistic calculator and Bluetooth|
The Sig Sauer Kilo 1200 is an outstanding rangefinder with a wide variety of features. It’s super simple to use and comes with a detailed instruction manual, so even if you are using the rangefinder for the first time, you’ll have no trouble using it.
Another great feature of this rangefinder is that it comes with an affordable price tag. If you want to make an accurate shot at your target without breaking the bank then the Sig Sauer Kilo 1200 is the one for you.
It has a dimension of 2 x 6 x 3 inches with a weight of 12 ounces with the battery inserted. It comes with a padded ballistic nylon case and a convenient lanyard. The case comes with a belt loop which makes it super convenient to carry around in long trips. It features a CR2 battery, hence, you’ll not need to spend any extra cash buying the battery.
When it comes to target acquisition, the Sig Sauer is super quick and accurate. It offers precision up to plus-minus 0.5 yards within 500 yards, and between 500 to 1000 yards the precision ranges the precision is plus-minus one yard.
One of the most unique features is that it comes with HyperScan mode which enables you to scan objects at 4x /second while keeping the vision quality absolutely top-notch. This feature comes super handy for rifle hunters and bow hunters. You’ll also get 4X zoom with a 20mm lens with SpectraCoat anti-reflection coatings that offer an excellent look at the target.
|Affordable||The LCD is not illuminated which makes it hard to read in foggy or dark environment conditions.|
|Suitable for rifle hunters and bow hunters|
|Lightweight and compact|
|Comes with a CR2 battery|
If you’re looking for a high-quality rangefinder with an abundance of cool features then the Bushnell 202208 Bone Collector is your guy. It has a camo printed design that will add ruggedness to your hunting expedition gears.
It’s a premium range bone collector featured after renowned hunter Michael Waddell, so it’ll not only help you find the target but an awesome piece of collectible too. It has a compact design as it comes with a dimension of 3 x 5 x 5.5 inches and weighs only 7.2 ounces.
Nowadays most rangefinders are powered by CR2 batteries. However, the Bushnell Bone Collector is powered by a 9-volt battery which is widely available at the retail store. So, even if you run out of battery during a hunting trip, you can easily find them at your nearest gas station.
When it comes to precision, the Bushnell Bone Collector is hard to beat. It has a 600-yard distance range which works excellent for hunting and bow shooting. It comes with an in-view LCD display that provides an accurate distance from your target within 10 to 600 yards with just a click on a button.
You’ll also get a 4x zoom that will enable you to have a clear picture of your target. When you’re looking at a long-range, make sure that you lock the distance on your target so that you can obtain a clean and accurate shot each time. The readings of this rangefinder are shown in black which can be problematic if you’re hunting in dim-lit condition.
|Aesthetic design||Reading are shown in black that’s hard to read in low-light condition.|
|An accurate look at the target|
|In-view LCD display|
|It comes with 4x optical zoom|
|10-600 yard range|
|Easy operating process|
|Includes a manual guide|
Vortex is one of the most trusted and renowned names when it comes to hunting gears and the Vortex Laser Rangefinder is undoubtedly one of their finest creations. It has a range of a whopping 1500-yards and it’s loaded with intuitive features which will make your hunting experience even more enjoyable and precise.
The Vortex Laser has a compact and sleek design. It has a dimension of 5 x 4.1 x 2.7 inches and weighs around 12 ounces. It comes with multi-coated lenses that deliver the best light transmission.
The best part is, it’s absolutely waterproof and fog-proof so you can carry this bad boy even in the harshest environmental conditions. It also has textured and rubber armor which provides extra protection against falls and helps to have a better grip on it as well. If you want to spend some money on your hunting rangefinder, I assure you it’ll be the best choice.
It features an HCD mode display which is easy to read. This rangefinder is an excellent option for expert hunters who intend to go for long-range shots. The display of the Vortex is very accurate hence, you’ll get better visibility under various light conditions. Also, the HCD display offers a high level of performance as it increases the sharpness of the rangefinder.
The Vortex Laser also comes with Line of Sight (LOS). This mode is suitable for rifle shooters who use ballistic drop data cards, PDAs with ballistic programs, or shooting a distance beyond 500 yards.
You’ll also get a scan feature that works excellent for moving targets and suitable to range smaller targets. LOS mode enables us to calculate long distance and high angle shots with utmost precision.
|Ergonomic rubber design for better grip||Expensive|
|Easy to use intuitive display|
|The multicoated lens of optimal light transmission|
|Capable of ranging up to 1500-yards|
|Neck lanyard and removable utility clip for easy packing|
Bushnell is known to make an affordable range of rangefinders and we’ve got another Bushnell product that has made to our list. It’s loaded with tons of incredible features and we can bet you that it’s downright amazing. It a solid range of 1000-yards with utmost precision that will make your hunting expeditions smoother than ever.
The Bushnell 1000 ARC has a super lightweight design with a dimension of 2.8 x 1.6 x 4.2 inches and a weight of 6.6 ounces. It comes with a 5x zoom with Vivid Display Technology along with a diopter adjustment to get a crisp and clear view. It also features a 3-volt battery that you can easily get from any shop around you.
It’s small enough to fit in your pocket and it has a rubberized layer that provides outstanding grip. Also, it’s entire water and fog-resistant, therefore, you’ll be able to carry it on all kinds of terrains.
The Bushnell 1000 ARC features an Extreme Speed Precision Turbo processor. It automatically calculates the compensated horizontal and vertical distance based upon the angle of terrain to provide accurate compensated distance readings.
This rangefinder is an excellent choice for rifle hunters and bow hunters as it comes with multiple modes and each of them comes with innovative capabilities such as MOA, Mildot, holdover distance, etc.
The Bushnell Scout 1000 is that it comes with Variable Sight-in (VSI) Bullseye targeting mode, scan mode, and brush mode that will enable you to range single or multiple targets on different types of terrains.
|Comes with bow, rifle, and regular mode||Black LCD display which makes it difficult to range dark objects|
|Rubber armor for extra protection|
|O-ring seal for lenses|
|Waterproof and fog-proof|
|Has a range of 1000-yards|
|Compact and lightweight design|
If you’re looking for a rangefinder that’s specifically designed for bowhunting then the Nikon Arrow ID 3000 is the one for you. It comes with a moderate range of 550-yards which is nothing over the top but works well if you’re not into long-range shots. However, the range is fine because most of the time the distance will not exceed 200-yards when bowhunting.
It features incline/decline technology which gives you the target’s horizontal distance instead of bullet drop/holdover options. It comes with a fixed magnification of 4x with a 20mm lens. It has a total eye relief of 20.3mm which makes it easier to use for hunters who wear glasses.
The Nikon Arrow ID has a dimension of 3.6 x 1.5 x 2.9 inches with a weight of 4.8 ounces only. It has an LCD display with a black screen which makes it difficult to read in low light conditions. However, in well-lit conditions, it super easy to read.
It features a mode button and a power button. If you hold onto the mode button then it’ll directly go to the scan mode. This feature comes in handy if you want to capture a bunch of ranges right one after another.
It features auto-shutoff technology after 8 seconds of inactivity which helps to increase battery life. It has an ergonomic design, therefore, it’s super easy to hold and carry around. This model is waterproof and fog-proof which makes it an excellent fit for rough hunting expedition on sorts of weather conditions. All those things make it one of the best rangefinders for hunting purposes.
|Designed for bow hunting||The LCD screen is difficult to read in low light condition|
|Multiple different modes|
|Suitable for all sorts of weather conditions|
|Long eye relief|
|Ranges up to 550-yards which is moderately enough for bow hunting|
Bushnell never fails to amaze us with their amazing collection of rangefinders and the G-force is a must-have if you’re looking for a budget-friendly rangefinder with superior precision and accuracy.
This model provides both ballistic data as well as true horizontal distance based on the calculations on the angle of your shot. It has quite a lightweight and compact design which will easily fit in your pocket. It comes with a dimension of 3.4 x 1 x 2.9 inches and a weight of 8 ounces. It comes in two different color variants: black and camouflage.
One of the best features of the Bushnell G-Force is that it comes with a built-in tripod mount. In most cases, you need to make a separate purchase for that but with this model, you get it with the rangefinder.
A black screen is a pet peeve for many hunters as it’s hard to figure out the readings when the light condition isn’t optimum. This rangefinder comes with a red display which is easier to read in dim-lit conditions. However, some users found it hard to read it under bright sunlight.
It comes with a built-in inclinometer which lets you measure the slope of the land as well as the angle of your shot which enables you to have a more accurate distance of the target. It features 6x magnification with a 21mm lens which makes it an excellent choice for traditional hunting, bow hunting, and archery. The optics have a rain-guard that helps to keep the lens safe from rain and fall.
|Comes with two different color variants||The red display is hard to read under bright sunlight|
|6x magnification with 21mm zoom|
|Long eye relief|
|Lightweight and portable|
|Targets up to 1300-yards|
Nikon is one of the most trusted brands when it comes to rangefinders and the Arrow ID 7000 is nothing short of a gem. It has a super easy setup procedure and all you need to do is to unscrew the round knob on the bottom and insert the battery.
It has a dimension of 3.9×1.9×3.0 inches and a weight of 13.2 ounces with the batteries. It’s slightly heavier than the other rangefinders we reviewed. However, it’s portable and super easy to carry around.
One of the most prominent features of the Arrow ID is that it reduces the vibration that’s caused by the viewfinder up to 80%. It simultaneously aligns the image with an activated laser beam that results in faster and more accurate ranging.
It provides distance readings from 8-1000 yards with utmost precision. The distance accuracy ranges to plus-minus 0.5-yard when the target is within 700 yards or meters. All hail to Nikon’s Hyper Read technology which displays the distance with fast and stable response regardless of how far you’re away from the target.
It also features Nikon’s innovative incline/decline technology that generates the horizontal distance of the target even when you’re ranging at a different incline or decline shooting angles up to a whopping 89-degrees.
It features two different ranging modes which you can choose according to your hunting situation. The target priority mode enables you to range small objects, whereas, the distant target priority mode displays the farthest target among the group of multiple targets.
|Easy and simple set up procedures||Price is on the steeper side|
|Two different ranging modes|
|6x zoom and long eye relief|
|Comes with Nikon’s advanced ID technology|
|Optical VR technology stabilizes the image|
|Ranges up to 1000-yards|
Halo Optics wants to build an industry for hunters which allows them to have the best hunting gears at an affordable price range. If you’re looking for a rangefinder that will not make a dent in your wallet then the Halo XL450-7 Hunting Rangefinder is your guy.
The Halo XL450-7 has a dimension of 6 x 5 x 3 inches and it’s wrapped in durable plastic which gives it quite a robust look. It includes a CR2 battery that lasts for quite a long time. This rangefinder is designed to take some heavy beatings and you’ll get a 1-year warranty with it too.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re using this equipment for bow hunting or rifle hunting, this device will give you the dead-on accuracy. The eyepiece twists you for better focus and the long eye relief comes handy if you’re wearing glasses.
The design of the Halo XL450-7 is slightly different than the other rangefinders we reviewed. It has a bulkier shape but the ergonomic design ensures that you have a proper grip on it at all times.
It comes with 6x magnification and ranges up to 450-yards. It has got quite a lot of appreciation from the bow hunters due to its precision and accuracy of the ranges. However, if you prefer hunting in long ranges then this might not be the one for you.
The Halo XL450-7 includes incline/decline technology which measures the ranges in slope accurately. Whether you’re an expert or a novice hunter, this feature will come in handy when you’re hunting out there in the wild.
|Affordable||Not a good fit for long ranges|
|Long battery life|
|Accurately measures in slopes|
|Suitable for both experienced and beginner hunters|
|Provides enough grip|
|Waterproof and fog-proof|
The Simmons 600 Hunting Rangefinder is another budget-friendly rangefinder that will the high-end rangefinders a run for their money. Even though it comes at a very affordable price tag, it’s loaded with a number of incredible features.
When you’re hunting in the wild, every ounce counts. The Simmons 600 has a compact and lightweight design that’s one of the most desired attributes of a rangefinder. It has a dimension of 9 x 6.1 x 2.6 inches with a weight of only 8 ounces. So, if you’re looking for a lightweight rangefinder with a moderate range then the Simmons 600 is the perfect match for you.
It comes with a fixed focus monocular optical system. It features a powerful 4x magnification that will have a crisp and clear view of the range. It can measure up to 600-yards which makes it suitable for both bow hunting and rifle hunting. This rangefinder works excellent on slopes as it features Tilt Intelligence technology which accurately measures and displays the true horizontal distance.
One of the best features of this rangefinder is its easy operating system. If you’re not a tech-savvy person and prefer a device with the simple operating process then you’d absolutely love this one as it can be operated with just a simple press on a button.
You can carry the Simmons 600 on all sorts of terrains and weather conditions. It comes in a hard case which will save it from falls and weather elements. Also, the 9-volt battery lasts for quite a long time. However, the battery doesn’t come with the rangefinder, you need to buy that separately.
|Affordable||The battery needs to be bought separately|
|Suitable for bow hunting and rifle hunting|
|The battery lasts for a long time|
|Comes with a case|
|Lightweight and compact design|
Things to Consider Before the Purchase
Now that you’re aware of the top rangefinders for hunting, it’s time to make the ultimate decision. The market is filled with many different brands and types. However, you must invest in the one that suits your needs and requirements.
To help you out with this task, we have come up with several pro tips and factors that you must consider before you make the purchase. The purpose of this guide is to help you find your best match so that you can make the best out of your hunting expeditions.
Purpose of the Rangefinder
Rangefinders have multiple different uses, for example, for hunting, archery, golfing, etc. However, this review is specifically designed for the rangefinders designed for hunting. Make sure that you buy the one that’s made to meet your hunting needs.
The range of the rangefinder is one of the most essential features that you should consider before purchasing the product. A hunting rangefinder should have a good range because when you’re out in the wild hunting, it’s not possible to know how far the target might be.
If you’re into traditional hunting then a rangefinder with 800-yards will suffice. However, for bow hunting 500-yards is good enough. We have included multiple rangefinders that have a range over 1000-yards which are excellent if you’re into long-range hunting.
When you’re hunting from a tree stand, the angle shot changes the distance and if you don’t compensate for that angle then you’ll get the wrong range. It’s important that the rangefinder is able to calculate the incline/decline of the terrain so that you can obtain an accurate measurement of the range.
Design and Build-quality
When it comes to rangefinders, the compact the size, the better. It’s important that it has a good build quality with outstanding durability as hunting expeditions are rough and you’ll be carrying it around on different kinds of terrains.
The hunting rangefinder should be water and resistant as that will enable you to use it on various types of weather conditions. Also, a cover on the lens will help to protect it against rain and other weather elements. Make sure the rangefinder comes with a quality rubber or metal case as that will help prevent any damages during slips and falls.
Ease of Use
Having a device with critical features and usage procedure is nothing but a nuisance. Make sure the device you opt for has simple features and preferably one-touch operation as that will enable you to take measurements fast and without any complication.
If you’re tech-savvy and you prefer multiple different specs then that’s absolutely alright. However, a device that’s easy to use make your work a lot simpler and make your hunting experience smoother.
Rangefinders usually come with long battery life. They mostly come with CR2, 9-volt, or 3-volt batteries. The 9-volt batteries are easier to find and even if you run out of batteries during your hunting expedition, you can easily avail them from your nearest gas station.
Angle compensation is another important feature that you should inquire about before you settle for your ultimate buy. This feature helps to locate your target accurately with utmost precision.
This feature allows the hunter to press and hold the button to scan the field view and take a look at the distant object as they scan. The distance will keep on decreasing as the target comes closer.
Magnification and Lens
Having magnification is extremely important as it enables you to have an enlarged view of your target. All the rangefinders that we reviewed come with a magnification of 4x-6x that will offer you an excellent view of your target. However, bear in mind that wind, fog, heatwave, and other weather elements will have an impact on the optical power of the device.
Lenses are also equally important. A high-quality lens is a must for long-range hunting, however, for bow hunting, a moderate rangefinder will do the job.
How Do I clean a Rangefinder?
Cleaning helps to prolong the life of your rangefinder to a great extent. Maintaining a proper cleaning regime will enhance the service and retain the quality of the rangefinder. We have come up with some basic cleaning tips. Let’s take a quick look.
- Shut down the device and take the removable parts out such as the battery, SD card, rubber parts, etc.
- Get a soft piece of cloth, if possible then get microfiber ones as they work great for cleaning. Get the contact lens solution and a soft toothbrush to help with the process
- Wipe away all the dust and sand particles from the rangefinder. You can use your hand or a clean cloth to clean it. However, make sure that you’re gentle enough so that you don’t mistakenly scratch on the surface of the rangefinder
- Put some cleaning solution on the microfiber cloth and rub gently around the device. Do not press any button too hard just clean around them in a subtle motion
- To clean the lens, get another piece of microfiber cloth and clean the outside gently. Do not rub too vigorously as that might put stress on the lens and damage it
- If the lens is hazy or dirty from the insides then take help from any professional. If you’re willing to do it yourself then make sure you don’t lose any components and you’re able to put them back together
- For the final step, dry the device naturally before putting the battery and SD card in their places. If you’re in a hurry then take a thin piece of cloth and dry the rangefinder thoroughly to ensure that there isn’t any water particle left on the device
Storage and Maintenance Tips
Since you’ll be investing your hard-earned money on a rangefinder, you must maintain it properly so that you can increase its lifetime. We have come up with a few simple maintenance and storage tips that will help you keep the rangefinder in better shape and enhance its longevity.
- Do not keep it under direct sunlight
- Avoid using the rangefinder in temperature above 50-degrees
- Never touch the optical surface of the rangefinder as that may lead to damage the anti-reflection coating
- Clean the lens with professional-grade camera supply
- Make sure that you take the battery out when you plan to store the rangefinder for a long time
- All repairs should be conducted by a professional and authorized service person
- Store the rangefinder in a safe place away from moisture and dust. Also, avoid a place where there’s a sharp fluctuation in the temperature
- Most rangefinders come with their own case. However, if there isn’t any then make sure that you invest in a good one which will keep the device safe from weather elements and protect it from slips and falls.
- Make sure that you don’t bump the rangefinder with other tools as that might cause damage in both the interior and the exterior surface. Try to store it away from the tools that you use regularly to ensure that you will not accidentally bump on it
- There are many rangefinders that come with the mount. However, if the one you buy doesn’t include any then you should invest in a quality universal mount to support the rangefinder.
How to Use a Rangefinder?
Knowing the best products out there will not suffice unless you know how to use them. Here are a few ways following which you can make the best out of your hunting rangefinder. Check the Scope Beforehand
As you pack up all your hunting gears, it’s better if you take a quick test shot to ensure that it’s sighted correctly. Range a target within the given range parameter and see if the bullet hits in your targeted place. This way you’ll not be startled if the bullet doesn’t hit the target when you’re hunting and you’ll be to make the changes required before the hunting begins.
Don’t Wait for the Last Minute to Range the Target
As you sit in your treestand and this huge prey walks into the line of your sight. You reach for the rangefinder and as you get the distance, he wanders out of your sight. Bummer, right? Well, the best way to utilize the rangefinder would be to measure the distance before the target showed up.
You can get a sense where the shooting lane might be from your tree stand then make a note of the distance from those landmarks. In this way, when the prey comes, you don’t have to fumble around the rangefinder anymore.
Using a Holdover Calculator
When you shoot from a treestand, it positions you at a steep angle from your target that can lead to mismanagement in your measurements of the distance. Our brain works better figuring out the distance at a level field than at an angle or a slope.
A holdover calculator ranges the path that a bullet or an arrow will need to reach its final target. For the calculations to be more accurate, you’ll need to program in the velocity of your shots that generally fluctuates when we change the ammo or the bow limbs.
The rangefinder is a device that will make your hunting experience a lot smoother and enjoyable. The best rangefinder on the market will provide you the ultimate amount of precision with outstanding durability and ease of use. It’s quite a daunting task to find the best one among the wide array of rangefinders out there.
In this review, we have come up with ten rangefinders with extraordinary features that will make your hunting expedition a memorable one. We have included rangefinders that are suitable for both traditional hunting and bowhunting. You can also use these devices for archery and golfing as well.
There are numerous different brands out there and not all rangefinder offers the same kinds of features or facilities. We have included the most prominent features of each model along with their merits and demerits so that you can easily find the one for you. So, go grab yourself the best hunting rangefinder out there and make the best out of your next hunting trip.