If you’re an avid hunter, there’s no doubt a great rangefinder has made its way onto your ‘must have’ and ‘really, really want’ lists both. Modern rangefinder capabilities have grown in leaps and bounds, and laser technology makes them so accurate that no rifle [or bow] hunter should be without one. Finding the best hunting rangefinder for the money, though, might seem a little intimidating- so we’ve taken the hard work out of it!
A great rangefinder combines reliable, precision laser technology, a tough lens, accurate judgement of distance and sensible, quality magnification. Expect to pay at least $150 for a good one, ranging up to the $600-$800 range for top-end models. Here’s three of our favourite rangefinders for you to … scope… out [forgive us, we had to!] and add to your wish list. They combine trustworthiness, durability and a host of the best features with pricing that doesn’t veer too cheap or too hard on the pocket, and would make a great addition to any keen hunter’s kit.
Who doesn’t love the idea of carrying a Sig Sauer into the field? No need to mention it’s not the gun! Jokes aside, though, this rangefinder offers accuracy with a range over a mile, displaying results to the nearest 1/10th yard. It actually can range reflective targets at over 3400 yards and pick up tress at 1500 yards. Deer it will range at 1200 yards. It uses a patented ‘lightwave dsp’ technology to range faster with improved accuracy, even over longer distances. We were particularly impressed with the 4x per second refresh rate.
That’s not all this compact little device offers, however. A high quality OLED display makes it easy to see even at those murky dusk/dawn shoots and its built-in ambient light sensor ensures light conditions are constantly monitored and display brightness is adjusted accordingly. Never again will you have your night vision [or your eyes] burned out by over-harsh displays.
The built-in inclinometer ensures that angle modified range is calculated accurately for angled shots. This is packed into a tiny rangefinder the size of your palm, perfect for circumstances when weight matters. It even reads well even in bright sunlight. Some users did feel that the warranty could be a tad more accommodating for a rangefinder that typically retails in the $350-$400 range, but has little else poor to say about the product.
Do you typically find yourself hunting in windy conditions? This may be the rangefinder for you. You can select your ballistics groups [up to and including ballistic groups at 200/300 yard zeros for better accuracy at elevation] and true ballistic range with wind hold values will be calculated.
The ‘DNA’ [Digitally eNhanched Accuracy] engine allows True Ballistic Range readings to 125 yards, displayed to the nearest 1/10th yard. This is an advancement on older Leupold technology, bringing many of the beloved features of earlier models to the table, while bringing in newer milli-radian based shot correction data. Target ranging is no longer affected by colour.
The quick-set menu is simple and intuitive to use with on-screen prompts, the unit is weatherproof and fold-down rubber eyecups allow for easy use with or without spectacles. It slips easily in a pocket and offers a host of great features alongside a limited 2 year warranty.
This imported unit offers rubber-armoured coating, for ruggedness in the field [and accident prone users] alongside anti-reflective coated lenses, waterproof body rating and a compact, lightweight design. The lifetime warranty on this product is attractive too. It’s a simple model, with an intuitive interface and clean display but impressive performance.
Primary HCD, or horizontal component distance, helps display an angle-compensated reading. For a budget-friendly product the low-light capabilities are impressive. The casing is slightly heavier and larger than the other two products we picked, but not enough to make it unwieldly or inconvenient.
The three step ranging process was a little cumbersome for some users, but for the money others felt it worked perfectly for their needs. We would have preferred a slightly narrower scope, but otherwise don’t hesitate to recommend this compact little powerhouse.
That’s it for our top 3 best hunting rangefinders for the money. Each of these gadgets provides a lightweight, easy to use rangefinder with powerful ranging capabilities, easy-to-use interfaces and great results. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses, but all of them will provide you with a quality hunting experience.
Do you have a favourite rangefinder that didn’t make our list? Be sure to let us know in the comments below.