Are you still a traditionalist who likes to walk off your paces as you set up the range your hunting space? Although pacing as always been a fairly reliable way to know how far you need to shoot, there is a better way. The best rangefinder for hunting will let you know an exact distance between you and your target so you know what kind of shot you must take. This guide will help you take your hunting skills to the next level, no matter what type of hunter you are.
Our Top 3 Best Hunting Rangefinder: Editor’s Pick
Most hunting rangefinders are what you would call a “Second Priority” item. This means it won’t focus on the materials thatare closest to you. Why figure out the range of the tree in front of you when there’s big game a few yards further back? These are the top rangefinders according to public reviews in this category.
5 Best Hunting Rangefinder Reviews:
1. Halo XRT6 Laser Rangefinder
You won’t be playing video games with this rangefinder, but you will improve your hunting accuracy with this highly affordable unit. Hunters receive a 600 yard range with 6x magnification so you can clearly see your target. A scanning mode included with this model gives you constant ranging as well and we’ve found the precision of each measurement is within 3-6 feet. It’s water-resistant, not waterproof, so keep that in mind when you’re out and about. For a freestanding rangefinder, we found the value this unit provides is great and highly recommend it today.
2. Nikon 8397 ACULON AL11 Laser Rangefinder
This compact rangefinder makes it easy to pack this thing along for hunting in virtually any environment. The optics are clear and easy to read, with ranges in meters or yards based on your preference. Push one button and get the range you need – it’s really that easy to use this equipment. It is programmed to measure the distance to the furthest target in your optics, so keep that in mind if you’re aiming at several big game targets. Multilayer coatings give you good light, even in overcast environments, but the max distance in optimal conditions is just 550 yards.
3. Bushnell 202208 Bone Collector Edition 4x Laser Rangefinder
The problem we have with so many rangefinders is that they make you stand out like a sore thumb in a natural habitat. The effective camouflage on this unit, however, stops that problem immediately. You receive the exact distance to your target whether it’s 10 yards away or 600 yards away on a clear day. Low light isn’t a problem for this equipment with its 4x21mm lens. It’s rainproof, rugged enough to handle a drop from a tree stand, and works with a single button operation. Give this one a try and we think you’ll agree it’s one of the best hunting rangefinders available today.
4. Vortex Optics Ranger Laser Rangefinders
You won’t find a more compact rangefinder with a greater max distance than this one. We love how you can just clip it to your belt to take it wherever you need to go. The design is waterproof and the O-rings that make it so are incredibly durable. You won’t have dust or debris interfering with your optics. The diopter adjusts well for a pure focus, something that is missing on a number of rangefinders in this category, and the exterior shell has rubber armor so you always have a secure grip. It’s anti-reflective, provides a bright view, and will soon be one of your favorite hunting accessories.
5. Wildgame Innovations Halo Ballistix 600 Range Finder
If you’re looking for an affordable solution that gives you constant ranging and guaranteed precision, then this is the unit for you. It accounts for slope in your field of view for more accuracy and gives you 6x magnification. The 600 yards of range works for reflective targets – we found it to be effective at 250-350 yards for most hunting situation. We found it worked extremely well for turkey hunting, but just about any hunter will love the extra information this rangefinder will provide. At this price, the results you receive will help you to aim twice and shoot once.
What Is a Hunting Rangefinder and Why Do I Need One?
A hunting rangefinder is a simple device which allows you to see how far it is to a target. With models able to reach 1,500 yards or more on a clear day, long-distance hunting has never been easier. Plus, when you’re not hunting, you can take a rangefinder to the golf course and potentially shave a few shots off your game.
Can you go hunting without a rangefinder? Of course you can. Our ancestors used the pacing method if they even bothered to figure out a range. Sometimes judging a shot by sight is a lot of fun. The best hunting rangefinder just gives you exact information about a shot so you don’t have to estimate what factors may influence your accuracy.
It is important to find a rangefinder that works for your preferred hunting weapon. The best rangefinder for bow hunting will have a slightly different design and different features when compared to rangefinders that are used with firearms. Carefully read each product review to make sure your preferred rangefinder is able to work with your weapon of choice when you’re ready to go hunting.
How to Find the Best Rangefinder for Hunting
Once you’ve determined that your preferred rangefinders are able to work with your bow or firearm setup, it’s time to begin finding the one with the best combination of features to meet your hunting needs. Here are just some of the key features you’ll want to examine in greater detail before finalizing a purchase.
Range. Many hunting rangefinders have a maximum range of 600 yards. Some go over 1,000 yards. Remember this is for ideal conditions, so to apply a realistic range, cut this maximum rating by 50% to understand what you’ll receive with daily use.
Design. Vertical rangefinders tend to work best with bows. Horizontal rangefinders work better for firearms. Either will work with the other, but be careful of manufacturer’s descriptions which reverse the design benefits. Some rangefinders are also designed based on the size of your target, so big game hunters might seek out a different design than small game hunters.
Display. Clarity and information color are incredibly important.
Your optics should be large enough to be comfortable, but have anti-reflective technologies to help you avoid detection. Anti-fogging technologies are also important to review so your targeting stays readable. Certain brands have proprietary tech in this area, so you may wish to shop by brand first and features second.
Once you’ve selected a rangefinder, you’ll want to be able to take it with you. Will you be able to mount the rangefinder on your weapon of choice? Is it a stand-alone unit? How quiet is the rangefinder when it is operating? Will you be able to use it through the mesh that many ground blinds offer? When you can answer those questions, you’ll know for certain that you’ve found a rangefinder that will meet a majority of your needs.
What If I Hunt With Rifles and With a Bow?
Many hunters are finding the unique joys of hunting in multiple seasons by using different weapons. If you are a bow hunter and a rifle hunter, then there are some rangefinders suitable for both types of weaponry. You’ll need a product with a compact design that can still offer you a range of up to 1,000 yards for best results. Magnification may also be necessary with this type of dual-use hunting rangefinder, with many hunters finding 7x-10x magnification helpful for sighting down their preferred target.
The internal optics must also be maximized for dual-use. Your figures need to be easy to read, so look for OLED optics or an LCD screen that displays the information you need to know before you take the shot.
What Are the Prices of the Best Rangefinders for Hunting?
Pricing in this category tends to be reflective not of the maximum range, but the overall quality of the optics that are included in the design of each rangefinder. For this reason, you’ll find that a rangefinder with a maximum range of 500 yards is just as expensive, if not more so, than a rangefinder with a max range of 850 yards. Look at optics, range, and durability to get the most value.
Once you reach 1,000 yards in range, you’ll find that pricing does go up. Expect to pay at least $300 for a rangefinder that can accurately measure this length.
The best rangefinder for hunting will help you maximize every shot you need to take. Stop guessing at how far you’ll need to shoot or what factors will influence your shot and begin to operate on facts. Find your rangefinder today and take your hunting to the next level.