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Thread: Range Finders

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    Default Range Finders

    Hi all,
    What are people's thought on range finders. I have been here in the southeast for about a year and can't wait to try my sights on a goat and moose. Being from back east, if I could see it, I could shoot it, due to the trees everywhere. Now I have to consider cliffs and clearings. Do you guys use them out in the field? Do they help considerably?
    I am looking at the Nikon 550 in the Rifle model. Any thoughts?
    Thanks

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    Member 1Cor15:19's Avatar
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    IMO they serve a wonderful purpose. LRFs are not required for big game hunting and may be dead weight in a lot of circumstances, but there is no denying that many times knowing the precise range is helpful. After struggling with several less expensive models I purchased a Zeiss Victory LRF and have been perfectly satisfied. It is light enough to carry all of the time and though it is a monocular, the optics are outstanding.

    Using a LRF does not improve personal shooting ability, but it is one piece of equipment that I simply will not leave at home.

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    I bought a Nikon 550 back in 2008. It is very easy to use and has clear optics but it does not return ranges on game beyond 300 yards or so. You will have to range a large object next to your animal in order to get a reflection.

    Because of it's limits I sold it to a cousin that wanted it and I promptly put the money towards a Leica 1200. The 1200 is hands down better in every aspect. It uses a different type of laser and returns ranges on a varity of game and objects with ease. I look forward to using it in Alaska in August.

    http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/te....form23&Go.x=0

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    I started with nikons and found them to be good for about 1/2 the distance of the model number. They are fine if you now that, but it often takes more than one atempt to get a reading in less than close or perfect conditions
    Now my lieca 1200 is good to 1200 or more, red display is easier to see, and I rarely don't get a reading the first attempt

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    I agree with Marshall & goosepilot concerning the usable range on many LRFs. I've fought various models to get readings, to get repeatable readings and I've had to wait to get a measurement until the unit is ready. IME the various Nikon and Bushnell LRFs (though accurate) are rated at the absolute maximum range of their ability in perfect conditions. Figuring that you'll get about 50% of their listed range for field use is a good rule of thumb IMO.

    IME the Leica is an excellent unit, but I compared it to the Zeiss and bought the Zeiss instead. It is rated to 1300 yards and I know that it will range a brown bear at 1074 yards in the noonday sun. I also prefer the larger size. The Zeiss is by no means bulky, but I find the larger size is easier to hold and use than the Leica CRF 1200. YMMV.

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    Open your eyes to range finders and you will not be so impressed. I was out at a KD range one day with four other shooters and asked them to sight their range finders o the same target. They had four different readings with in 20 yards of each other. Remember this is at a Know distance range. After reading a vary informative article about range finders I asked them to share the same post and take the readings again. This time all the readings were the same. The only reason and this is key, they all took their readings from a solid support.

    Unless you are shooting live varmint I don't see where there place is for Alaska.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Al View Post
    Unless you are shooting live varmint I don't see where there place is for Alaska.
    Are you implying that you sometimes shoot "dead varmints?"

    I'm not trying to convince you to carry a LRF Big Al, but knowing the precise range may be helpful in some situations and I cannot imagine where it is harmful to have that knowledge. Concerning false or unrepeatable readings I agree that using the device improperly will give poor results, but then I'd say the same thing about rifles, wouldn't you?

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    I carryed one one Kodiak last year in a pair of lecia binos it was great to sit down on a big meadow in the evening and know the range of every part of the meadow. It saved a potential shot at a bear as he was 387 away. Anyone that has looked at bears know they can be difficult to gauge the size and distance when both are unkown.
    Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming-----WOW-----what a ride!
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    I'd say get one... see if it is a useful tool or not. In certain scenarios suitably accurate rangefinders are wonderfully useful. I wouldn't feel that a reliable one is any dead weight.

    The Nikon I have found to be frugal on battery-life and has reasonable distance accuracy even on the go. I like it for staying within known/practiced max point blank. Quick and easy ranging anything within 300-350 yards for my rifle sight-in trajectories as well as stayin' inside 150 yards on wheel-gunnin'.

    I find most importantly --- It is a tool aiding study of an area, thinking about a stalk (timing/sequencing moves or shot) ahead of time, then perfect for hindsight review/debrief of experience!

    I do sell and have been using this model Nikon for a while now... works great - no problems - workable reads on ranging - easy to use and uncluttered. However in your price-range, also look at another we carry by Leupold called RX-1... these are priced the same,,, big difference you'll find is always excellent Leupold customer service.

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    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    I find them very useful. My Nikon 440 had no issue whatsoever returning a reading on a deer, in the rain, at 325 yards. Was the reading accurate? Who knows, but my son missed the mark where I told him to shoot by less than 2 inches.
    Bunny Boots and Bearcats: Utility Sled Mayhem

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    Default info

    thanks guys. I have been thinking along Big Al's idea for a while. Most game should be within my shooting range, but the big question for me is the dramatic difference in perception here compared to the Maine woods. As I sit here on the deck looking at the 3-7,00 foot mountains, my depth perception fails me. As was mentioned in an earlier post, being able to gauge my open space better might, in fact, be nice. Can I pick a moose easily, sure. But the goats in the hills or a bear with adrenalin might be a difference. I probably will get one, because I can. I will look into the longer ranging ones. This is good.

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    I like them, they're a tool, nothing more or less. They allow you an opportunity to range multiply spots around your area and plan multiple shots. If one trail feeds a swamp at 100 yards and the far side feeds it at 300 then you know you're good. If the far side is 400 then you find an area closer for an ambush or make the necessary stalk, hold over or scope adjustment.

    I find that most hunters including myself are very poor guessers at actual ranges. More times than not we are a couple hundred yards off on the long guesses and that will be a miss every time.

  13. #13

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    If I am sitting on stand I range various landmarks around me so if something comes in I already know. I use mine to find out how much distance I need to close before a shot. I used to range a mule deer that bedded down 800 yds and there was a small hill that was 765 yds as I closed in on hill I drew my bow and stepped out and quickly shot 35 yd pin. Dead deer then took actual range and it was 33yds. Last week when I got on shore I ranged the tree line behind where I last saw the bear it was 198yds I new the bear was closer and that would be the farthest potential shot. Based on knowing max distance and trajectory of gun any shot I could hold dead on and be in the kill zone. I rarely range right before I pull the trigger because I already know or I don't have time

  14. #14

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    I had a Bushnell elite 1500 once, until I lost it in the field and in the best of conditions, it would range from 800 to 900 yds. In less conditions it would be good for 500-600, but I never tried it in snow, which is a real test for RF's... and... it was nonfunctional in low light conditions.

    After loosing the Bushnell, I got a Leica 1200 CRF. It's a very good RF, but maybe not quite the top of the line. In bright daylight conditions it would regularly range to about 800-900 yds. In lower light (early morning and late evening) it would range to 1400 yds plus... but it did not do real well in snow and bright sun.

    I think RF's are an invaluable tool for a couple of reasons. if you play with them a lot, you'll become a much better range estimator in a hurry. Estimating range in the field can be very challenging and deceptive. I found that sometimes in the 300-400 yd range, I would often under estimate by a whole lot and in the 400 plus range I would usually overestimate. After playing with the RF for a while, I got a lot better at guesstimating.

    Before you plop down your $$$, do a lot of research. Don't get one (like the Bushnell) that can't read in the most critical hunting hours. For you, or most folks, I would recommend the Leica 1200 CRF or 900. Leica is coming out with a 1600 this year which is supposed to be a much better all around CR. You might want to wait on the reviews for that one.

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    So far no one has talked about reflective backgrounds and how they effect a laser range finder. I find this a key point and what they do to a laser range finder. I do find the Leica in a pair of binos to be the best and has the least disruption of all the range finders, but their is a down side, check with a Leica dealer and find out which bino's get the most returns of all the binos. Just one time I would like for some one to tell me that carrying separate range finder and binos is not a pain in the rear. Owe and your RF is 6 or 7 power, and you don't have a problem when dropping your 10x50's. Let us get real for a moment.
    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tryants." (Thomas Jefferson

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    I am as real as rain. My first hunt with a rf was with the lecia binos. I would not carry a separate rf and binos. The only draw backs were the weight and expense. I probably would not need a rf for most hunting but it sure is fun to play with.
    Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming-----WOW-----what a ride!
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    I am going to stick with the two unit system. I like two compact units and I use them at different times/situations anyway. The warranty on high end binocs is for life, but add a rf to a binoc and now the warranty is only 3 or 5yr.

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    Default range finders

    While moose hunting, I like to range on birch trees around the perimeter of the meadow or clearing to school myself on just how far the possible shots may be. Birch trees are pretty reflective compared to moose hair.

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    I have found the Bushnells and the Nikons to be a great aide when bowhunting, but can be a bit unreliable at longer ranges especially in poor light or with opaque backgrounds.
    Leica 1200 better.
    Never tried the Leupold or Zeiss mdls.
    I know they have been a plus for me on many occasions. I learned through competitive archery how tough it can be to judge yardage, and that was only out to about 70 yards usually! 250yds and beyond in Big Country can really weed out the good rifle shots!

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    I looked through a few at the local Bass Pro a few years ago and like the Leica better as it was more comfortable in my hand and ranged objects quicker.
    The CRF 1600 is supposed to be available in August.
    http://www.cameralandny.com/optics/s...age=leica40528
    Shoot Doug at Cameraland for more info.

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