Finding the exact range when your shooting targets inside 200 through 300 yards is not that difficult. Many small unit ranging systems can get the job done just fine.
Move up that range requirement and everything falls apart in terms of exact distance reading and the optical quality observed in a budget ranging system. The following is a review of the best long-range rangefinders that both hunters and target shooters can use when setting their sights for an exact bullet contact range.
Bushnell Elite 1 Mile Conx
Leica Geovid HD-B
Sig Sauer Kilo 2200BDX
1. Bushnell Elite 1 Mile Conx
At the time long-range shooting was just getting a major foothold on the American shooter, Bushnell was short on ultra-long-range finding systems. I had started with the standard Bushnell system used mostly as a golf rangefinder.
Now, however, I was faced with the need for a ranging system that could increase ranged distances to as much as one mile. Enter the Bushnell 1 mile rangefinder.
The rangefinder provides 1/10 of a yard accuracy in the 5 yards to 1,760 yards. I have found the rangefinder to require a solid, dark background when ranging past 600 yards. This is not uncommon among these systems because they require a bounce back and need the reflective surface to work correctly.
This ranging unit operates by ranging something different near the target area that returns a reflection.
This laser system communicates with Conx apps on both IOS and Android platforms and allows the use of the smartphone when building ballistic program results downrange.
My Gen I system does not offer this feature because it was an early version of the range core system lacking the ability to link with other computer-based products. The fact remains, however, that the core system in this rangefinder works. That is the most important aspect of this product's overview.
The rangefinder has an Arc rifle mode that computes rifle bullet drop angles with direct target sighting. The rangefinder will return data in MOA’s or MRADS to fit both standardized reticle subtension systems.
Simply align and hit a single button then digital numbers in red will come up in the ranging screen. Point and shoot for the most part to get positive target ranging.
The system is built well and is encased in a waterproof housing. The unit is compact, provides Bluetooth wireless connectivity via CONX with second-generation extreme speed and accuracy within a ½ yard value of error.
The system has a brush and scan mode for those hunting in the woods versus long-range hunting in the open country. It includes a built-in tripod mount for range shooting situations that fit the need.
This is a very big functional rangefinder. With a cell phone and this unit, you can pack into the rough country with little weight and carry stress. You can feel confident because you have a complete up to date ranging system in the palm of your hand.
2. Leica Geovid HD-B
The Leica Geovid is another ranging system that I have had the pleasure of using during industry events. I even packed one for a year courtesy of the company. These units are in a higher price range, but they are quality optics with functions that are not to be questioned.
The product is just that darn good. Based on a set of binoculars coupled with a ranging function, the rangefinder calculates range to a distance of 3000 yards (well over a mile).
Leica Geovid offers very high-quality lenses that transmit light very well and bring crisp images downrange. Because the lens is Aqua Dura coated, it is easy to clean. The coating provides protection against dust and dirt collected on the lens surface.
The housing on the unit has a full rubber armor. The system is waterproof and fog proof. The ring find is compact but allows for the required internal parts from both the binos and the ranging systems.
The rangefinder is available in 10X42 power making it a total system for spotting game and adjusting for exact range.
This rangefinder is ballistic charting compatible.
3. Sig Sauer Kilo 2200BDX
Sig Sauer is one of the newer companies in the range-finding business but offers a wide range of unit types and pricing.
This rangefinder is a monocular system meaning a single lens look through unit. However, don’t be fooled here because I know more than one hunter that has used the rangefinder as a spotting scope. It is not perfect, but it works.
This best rangefinder works with current smartphone technology as the BDX system can be downloaded to your phone. Computer processing can be done on-site in the field.
Space will not allow a detailed explanation of the computerized ballistics programming, but it is safe to say that the Sig system has excellent capabilities.
The objective lens is 22mm with a magnification level of 7X at close-range focus distance with 4 ft. maximum range at 2600 yards.
The total carry weight is 4 ounces. Powered by a single CR2 battery, this unit has long battery life.
4. Nikon Laserforce Range Finding Binoculars
This product comes close to home and almost never leaves my truck cab or my pack when in the field. I use this Nikon ranging system. This unit is totally first-class and appears in the over $1,000 price range on Amazon.
The Nikon range finding binos will cover 10 to 1900 yards. I have used this rangefinder against a good reflective long-range target surface.
I have not been let down by the Nikon system and as for ballistics computations, those are always on my rifle's DOPE card taped to the stock. Range it, see it on the card, adjust turret knobs, and shoot one shot one kill.
This past week I shot rock chucks in the mountains with my .224 Valkyrie and used the Nikon ranging binos. Not a single missed rock dog to 387 yards. See it and hit the little button as the red range numbers come up in the viewing area. Using this system is just that easy
This system offers exact ranging reflective targets at 1900 yards. Trees at 1400 yards and deer or other big game at 1100 yards. These ranges are far enough to get the job done.
Ranges are displayed in 1-yard increments up to 100 yards and in 2-yard increments over 100 yards. Yes, this system is set up for the bowhunter, or waterfowl hunter as well.
The binoculars give a bright clear red OLED display with a 4-step intensity adjustment setting. The lens also makes use of ED extra-low dispersion glass. I have observed targets at 400 yards inside e totally shadowed area that could not be picked up at all by the naked eye.
In general, I sit back, prop the glasses on my shooting sticks, and pass across rock face areas. That’s always enough for the shot. Just spot, range, and get to work.
The eyepiece is a turn and slide for those wearing glasses. The whole system is waterproof and fog proof. I know as I have been caught in a mountain downpour with my Nikon before.
5. Leupold RX-2800 TBR/W Laser Rangefinder
In general, the further a rangefinder allows you to range an object, the more money the system will cost you. Why? internal guts and basic advanced technology. This rangefinder is in the upper crust of the Leupold line because it can range up to 2,800 yards. Most hunters or even target shooters can’t handle that distance even with good equipment.
Leupold's RX-2800 is an upper-end system offered by the optic giant. This rangefinder has multi-coated lenses, a 7x magnification level, and a 2,800-yard detection range. That means given the right object, this rangefinder can return a digital number for that target.
The rangefinder includes a ballistics range system with wind value technology. The reigning technology is called “Alpha IQ". It is new for Leupold optics.
inanimate objects are measured in range to 2,300 yards with less reflection. The final limit is set at 1,799 yards for deer.
Using the Trophy scale system, the hunter can bracket a game animal and judge the correct hold over for his or her sighting equipment. Choose your aiming point for the Duplex Plus Point TM reticle and lockdown your target.
The rangefinder is fully armor coated and water-resistant for rough field applications. I use two different rangefinders by Leupold but at a lower technology level and range finding capability. This rangefinder is nice to carry for bow hunting, waterfowl decoy setting, and anything that will not require ranging to some vast distances.
The field of view at 1000 yards is 318 feet. The exit pupil is 3.9mm. The system uses a class 3R laser.
6. Vortex Optics Ranger Laser Rangefinder
The Vortex Optics Ranger 1800 is a compact unit that features up-to-date technology and can push a laser a very long distance downrange. Just short of one mile on a reflective object, this ranging system stands right with many others in the long-range rangefinders camp.
This unit is a "get it done" rangefinder. This rangefinder does not include the ability to connect to a computer system, but it records exact distances for riflemen that can shoot and know how to address a DOPE card on their rifles.
The corrected angle finder uses a clean, crisp display and highly intuitive menu. The primary HCD mode displays the distance with angle compensation that is ideal for almost any workable big game shot downrange.
A very nice feature of this hunting rangefinder is the “scan” system. The user presses down and moves across a landscape to get accurate readings on objects along the system's path. This is valuable when quickly setting up a stand on a high ridge and you want to know your distance from another object.
The unit has three different brightness levels that display in both bright and low light conditions. Believe me when I tell you that this is a very big deal in rangefinders that return digital numerals. I can't count the times I have lost my range because the red numbers just faded away on poor lighting conditions.
The task at that time was to change systems and fast. This situation took place using some very high-end equipment. For the price I paid, it should have never occurred.
This rangefinder has a rubber armor coated housing that prevents damage to the unit from nasty weather conditions and rough field circumstances.
The unit includes a tripod adapter as well as carry lanyard.