I have a long range rifle that I handload for. I've fired it in registered shooting matches, and have shot it in field conditions at 100, 200, 300, 400, and 500 yards. This is off a bipod, not a bench. The gun will shoot, and I have a Leupold Vari X III with a mil-dot reticle that I've field calibrated for long shots. The caliber is 7mm Remington mag, which is too much gun for close range, but fine farther out.
I have an old range finder, but it's worthless beyond about 250 yards. The trouble is, that's exactly where I need it to start going to work; I don't need any accurate range estimation at less than 300 yards with this gun.
My old range finder will mark a bush or tree out to 250. Beyond 500, it won't usually pick up a house or truck.
I'm looking a range finder that will give a reading on a bush, tree, or the like out to about 500 yards. The trouble is, I'm trying to find one that will do it without breaking the bank. Like most folks, money is tight right now. There are a good number of things I truly 'need' more than a good range finder. So I'm trying to find a good one for the money.
Introduce a kid or neighbor to hunting or shooting.
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I broke the bank a few years ago and spent an overtime check on a Swarovski Laser Guide. My goodness... I've ranged mule deer out at over 1,000 yards. Rock formations at 1,700+ yards... It's not just the ranging that is so good, but the doggone thing is equipped with that legendary Swaro glass - it's like a half a Swaro binocular. I used to carry binos and an inexpensive rangefinder, but now I just carry the Swaro rangefinder. Leica also has a great reputation.
Worth it? Well, to me it has been well worthwhile. Admittedly an expensive piece of gear, but I deliberately worked an overtime assignment to pay for it. Have to admit that after investing in the Swaro, I haven't really looked at any of the less expensive rangefinders. I'll bet there's some good ones that have come along since.
In the field it can be a real help. Back in September I was bear hunting on a pretty open hillside, and spotted a chocolate boar feeding at the edge of some berry bushes. Looked like a long way off, and it was. We closed in, and stopped at a rocky point above the bear. Nothing but an open, grassy slope between us and the bear. I ranged him again. This time the rangefinder read 306 yards. From sitting, I put the .375 H&H up on a pair of crossed sticks, like the ol' buffalo hunters used, and sent the 260 gr bullet on it's way. The rifle was sighted in at 200 yards, and I'd banged up enough steel at 300 yards to know that it dropped about 9" out there at 300 yards. Held a little high on the bear to accommodate the range, and cut loose. We could hear the bullet smack him, and he dropped instantly. It was nice making another clean kill, with the assist of the rangefinder. I would have thought he was farther away and might have shot over him, without the rangefinder.
+1 for the 8x30 Swarovski Laser Guide.
Its the last range finder I will ever buy.
Team 45-70 #17
Leupolds RX 1000 and Leica's 800 are well liked by their users, but they will cost you.
However, the RX 750 is not quite as expensive and will give you the best performance / price ratio out there. I've seen them listed for as little as $240. They have a red LED display and a true range ballistics calculation ability for incline's declines.