What is the Best Bushnell Rangefinder

I have know Bushnell to be quality optics products for just about my entire life. When I was growing up, my dad always used a pair of bushnells to look at the field when we went to football games together and I got to look through them as well. As far as I can remember, the optics were great and we could see clearly – Even from our nosebleed seats. Bushnell is a solid optics company with many options now, and they make some great things. But if you’re anything like me, you’re wondering what the best bushnell rangefinder is.

The Truth with ClearShot Technology 300x254 What is the Best Bushnell Rangefinder

Now though, we are here to try and find the best bushnell rangefinder, which is going to be difficult because they have a range of products with a range of features. You may need some of those features or you may not need some of those features depending on how you hunt. For instance, the top of the line Bushnell ARC Binocular/Rangefinder  has a range up to a mile! If you’re a bow hunter, there’s no way you’re taking  1500+ yard shot, so a feature like this is unnecessary.

There are a lot of factors to consider when looking at all the bushnell units, like magnification, ARC calculation, optics display and maximum range. There were also some units that we deemed were not appropriate for must hunters (because some features wont be used frequently and are not worth the added cost) and pulled some great units out of the running for that reason. We also considered bow hunters and rifle hunters, and looking over the options determined we didnt need to separate the two as we found one that would meet both needs. After a long process, we chose the Bushnell Team Primos The Truth Rangefinder with Clear Shot Technology.

We have a full review pending, but here are a few of the reasons that we picked this team primos unit.

  • Clear Shot Technology: It will tell you if there’s clearance between branches and other obstacles for your arrow to hit the target
  • Bushnell optics: Clear and high powered
  • 4x Magnification
  • True yardage range up to 199 yards, with a total range of up to 850 yards

The unit shows your actual guesstimated height of the arrow path, and can help you calculate draw length if necessary to ensure that you take a high percentage shot when that monster buck walks into your field of view. No more hitting tree branches and watching the winters dinner run off.

We have one of these and it’s in the review Que, so there’s a full review of this product to come.

Vortex Ranger 1000 Review

Today, we are going to give a good look at the Vortex Ranger 1000. Even though Vortex isn’t a household name like Bushnell or Leupold, they still are a great name in optics and put out solid products in the hunting arena. We are doing lots of rangefinder reviews and are happy to do a Vortex Ranger 1000 review. Lets get down to business.

file000596282536 Vortex Ranger 1000 Review

The Full Vortex Ranger 1000 Review

41CrYcJWLaL. SL160  Vortex Ranger 1000 Review This Vortex unit comes with a maximum range of 1000 yards, with a target accuracy range of 500 yards, and is accurate +/- 3 yards at 1000 yards away, which are pretty solid stats on any rangefinder. Vortex has solid optical products, with multi coated lenses that will help deliver the best light transmission to the view screen, giving hunters and shooters a clearer picture that will help them take more accurate shots. The menu is intuitive and easy to use, as there’s no fumbling around for the right mode or button to get what you need. Simplicity in this rangefinder is a huge plus, something that you don’t expect from a rangefinder with performance this good.

In terms of fit and feel, it fits great in my hand and is easy to grip with the rubber coating (which makes the unit waterproof). Even though the unit’s rubber coating is most likely to make sure that it’s water proof, it gives it a very durable feel and wants to think that it can go anywhere and take on any task in the field. Vortex also focused on something that most companies don’t: carrying in the field. The vortex is ergonomic as we mentioned before, but they made the ranger 1000 easy to clip on your belt, pocket or hang from a lanyard for easy access when you’re out in the field (though if you dont like the belt clip, it can be removed easily). The size on this rangefinder is also a plus, as it’s a lot smaller than a lot of other rangefinders on the market today, and in my opinion every little thing helps when you’re hauling a lot of gear or pulling something back to the truck.

Check Reviews of the Vortex Optics Ranger 1000 on Amazon

Like many rangefinders, this one has an angle compensation mode that is great for bow hunters. Vortex calls it HCD mode, which stands for Horizontal Component Distance, which (as we know) gives you the angle compensated distance for your shot if you’re at the top or bottom of a hill or something like that. The mode works great, and was able to tell me what looked to be good angles when I was testing it, though I wont know for sure until hunting season starts this fall. When I was out testing the unit on a bright day, the display seemed to wash out a bit, but that was quickly remedied by changing the display to its brightest setting with the menu button.

Check Reviews of the Vortex Optics Ranger 1000 on Amazon

Overall Impressions:

This is a great unit with great distance (1000 max, 500 for target) with solid optics and a respectable 6x zoom level. It ranges quickly, easily and accurately and as far as I can tell the angle compensation tools work as advertised. The optical display is bright enough to work even in the brightest sunlight that I could test it in, and the recticles are still clearly visible. The operation is simple with one hand and is easy to hold with one hand as well. The cost is very competitive and in terms of value for the price paid, it’s going to be tough to beat. That’s about all we have to say for this vortex ranger 1000 review, so if you’ve got one, let us know what you think in the comments!

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Leupold Rangefinders Reviewed

Leupold is one of the premier huntings optics companies around, producing rangefinders, scopes, spotting scopes, trail cams and more. The company has been in business for over 100 years, and is headquartered in Beaverton, Oregon. Their scopes are used by many of the branches of the United States Military, proving their quality.

Rumor has it that Leupold started making scopes after the founder went deer hunting and had his scope fog up while in the field. As the deer trotted away unharmed, he angrily exclaimed that he could build a better scope than the one he was using, and Leupold started to get into the hunting optics business.

They have great rangefinders and since that is what we are all about, we will talk about them here.

Top 3 Leupold Rangefinders

Leupold makes 2 specific types of rangefinder, the vendetta rangefinder that you can mount on your bow and the RX series, which are hand held rangefinders. If you do more bow hunting, then the vendetta rangefinder may be for you, but if not the RX series is a very capable line and comes in at a variety of price points. Listed below are all the Leupold rangefinders, and our thoughts on each unit. We have short reviews here, with more in depth reviews on the blog.

leupold Leupold Rangefinders Reviewed

Leupold RX 1000i TBR with DNA

51vlLQJ9IxL. SL160  Leupold Rangefinders ReviewedThis is a great choice for a rangefinder, with up to 800 yard distance and 6 times magnification. The unit is small and easy to carry and operate – meaning there will be no fuss when a trophy bull elk walks in front of your hiding spot. With this rangefinder, You’ll be able to easily range in and target the animal. The rest will be up to you. We’ve got more on a unit very similar to this (though with a few less features) on the homepage.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • Adjusts light in the viewing window to outdoor lighting conditions
  • Clearly marked and bright optics – makes buttons very easy to find in no or low light situations
  • Water resistant (though not totally water proof)
  • Has 3 recticles to select while viewing the target

All in all, this is one of the best rangefinders we have seen in terms of ease-of-use, field adaptability and display. The unit also has a great LED quality and exceptional image quality. There are a lot of rangefinders that look good on paper and test out well, but dont seem to perform well in the field. This is not one of them. This performs in the field as well as in the testing area (my backyard). This also has great battery life and what leupold calls LOS (line of sight), TBR (true ballistic range), both features help you estimate how far you should shoot based on where you are in relation to your target and taking into account things around you (such as slopes and hills). It pairs all this with ballistic data from your rifle that you can enter before you head afield and tell you exactly what the best shot for you to take is.

Click here to Check Reviews and Buy a Leupold 112179 RX-1000I TBR W/DNA on Amazon

Unfortunately, this method isnt easy to nail down for every hunter, though leupold tries very, very hard (and does a great job). They dont have inputs for scope height, the weather and temp outside while you’re shooting and (most importantly) wind speed and direction, and how that will affect your shot.

 This rangefinder really has no match at this price range, and is one of the absolute best units out there. You cant go wrong with this one and wont be disappointed in its features or performance in the field. 

Check Amazon Reviews of the Leupold 112180 RX-1000I TBR W/DNA

Leupold Range Finder RX-800i TBR with DNA Engine

41h92I8kHkL. SL160  Leupold Rangefinders Reviewed This is our third pick for our top 3 leupold rangefinders, and it’s priced a bit lower than the other two but does not sacrifice much to get that lower price point. The unit has impeccable optics like all leupod products, with a clear view screen in all light, so it will be easy to read no matter when you finally get eyes on your target. Like the others, there are 3 different recticles for you to choose from and they make it easy to switch from one to the other while out in the field. Here are a few specs for this unit:

  • Accurate to 1/10th of a yard with a max range of 1,000 yards
  • Quick Set Menu – Allowing you to store your settings for easy use next time
  • Easy 1 handed operation
  • 6x Magnification

Once again, this is a powerful unit and comes with something called trophy scale, which will give you an estimate on how big the target is while you’re ranging it in and before you shoot. This could save you from a wasted tag and allow you to save it for that big white tale buck that you’ve been after for a few seasons now. Knowing when to hold your shot and when the target is big enough for you to mount on the wall is a great feature on this unit.

Leupold Range Finder RX-800i TBR with DNA Engine, Black/Gray

I have a few friends that own this and have never heard any complaints about this rangefinder. The few times that I’ve looked through their units have been nothing but clear visions and great shots (right before a long pull back to the truck). It fits perfectly in your hand and works great in low light as well. Like the others on the list, it includes the MOA feature for angle adjustment, and this one even includes and early version of the ballistics feature. A great product from leupold (along with the other two).

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Leupold RX 1000 with DNA

41VKtbjbosL. SL160  Leupold Rangefinders Reviewed This is a unit that we highlighted on our top ten list on the front page because we were (and still are) very pleased with this rangefinder and the price point that it comes in at. It’s $50 cheaper than the RX 1000 with TBR & DNA, but the TBR feature probably is not necessary for every hunter – you need to figure out if it’s right for you. This unit has a great and bright LED screen that is usable in all forms of light, with select able recticles to make ranging in on your target easier. Here are some features

  • Ranges 1/10th of a yard out to 1000 yards
  • 6x magnification
  • leightweight and easy to use

Even though leupold has discontinued this model, there are still plenty available on amazon, and it’s still a great rangefinder. It may not be the best for bow hunters because it doesnt have the inclinator technology to help you determine how to shoot on an incline or decline and more accurately hit your target.

Click here to Read Reviews for the Leupold RX-1000I with DNA Black

The unit has clear view screens and makes it very easy to range in your target while requiring only single handed operation. Its low weight and compact form make it easy to carry around and access while you’re out in the field, and you wont need to be fussing with anything in your pack while you are preparing to take a shot. All in all, this is a great leupold prodcut at a great price, and even though they dont make it any longer, it will most likely still meet your needs.

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So, these are our top three rangefinders from leupold. If you’re interested in reading full reviews of leupold and other rangefinder brands, check out our blog.

Why Use an Archery Range Finder?

When I started hunting not long after college, I did mostly rifle hunting. I was totally unfamiliar with bow hunting and how everything related to bow hunting worked, so I just did my thing with the rifle. Over the years though, I got more and more curious about bow hunting – mostly from talking to friends of mine that were also hunters but did primarily bow hunting instead of rifle hunting. The equipment is quite a bit different and I didnt know what I would absolutely need and what I could do without for a while (or forever). Since I had been rifle hunting forever, one of the biggest question centered around the archery range finder.

As far as I was concerned, a rangefinder really isnt necessary when you’re rifle hunting. You can fairly accurately judge distance while rifle hunting, and there’s not going to be much bullet drop when you’re firing most rifles and rounds over most distances. Obviously, this isnt true for all cartridges, but for the majority of rifle hunters this will hold fairly standard. With a bow though, that’s not at all the case.

The bow can drop position over about 50 yards, and your pin will also need to be adjusted based on weather or not you’re on a hill or your target is on a hill. So, with bow hunting you need to be closer to your target (to eliminate drop of your arrow) and you need to be able to do some rudimentary trigonometry on the fly to calculate angles and distance (so you don’t shoot over or under your target because you’re shooting from a hill). Now I passed trigonometry in high school, but there’s no way I wanted to sit around running numbers on a piece of paper while I was sighted in on a trophy white tail. You can see in the video below that these guys hunting mule deer in Utah get some good looks at mule deer – there’s no way you’ll be able to do math correctly with that kind of adrenaline going through your system!

UTAH BACKCOUNTRY MULE DEER HUNT: “Going Deep!” from Zac Griffith on Vimeo.

Before I got into bow hunting, I started going with some friends and took note of what gear they used consistently, and every one of them said that they couldnt live without their rangefinder. It’s saved them too many shots and the angle calculations make that part of the hunt a lot easier.

Rangefinders arent that expensive for a basic one, and you’ll need to make sure if you’re bow hunting you get one with angle compensation (the feature we’ve been talking about) because it will save you a lot of time and help you harvest a lot of deer. I havent found a tool that’s more essential to bow hunting (Other than arrows and a bow) than a rangefinder. There’s too much that can easily go wrong when you’re that close to a deer, and you dont want your dinner to go hopping away because of a careless mistake. Thats why I use a rangefinder.

How to Find the Best Value Rangefinder

Even though I’m  a guy who loves his gadgets, I’m still fairly frugal at heart. I don’t like to buy things that I do not need, and I don’t like spending money on features that I wont use. Unfortunately, this doesnt really fit well with the rangefinder market. There seems to be an arms race up to add more and more features, without actually figuring out if these features are useful for hunters. One of my favorite examples is the ARC calculation tools (ARC stands for Angle Range Compensation). I’ll get into it later, but if you’re an archer it can be something that you absolutely have to have in a rangefinder, but if you’re a rifle hunter it’s not the best value rangefinder that you can buy.

value How to Find the Best Value Rangefinder

Now, some of you may think that getting the best value is simply another way of me being cheap – I assure you that it is not. Value is something that is different for every person. For instance, if you’re bow hunting you’ll place much higher value on a unit that has ranges up to 1/2 yard up to 75 yards then every yard after that, with a max range of 400 yards. If you hunt rifles, you would much rather give up that half yard range for something with a bit higher maximum range, perhaps in the 600-800 yard range.  For me, getting a good value rangefinder is about finding one with the features that I need at a good price and getting the most use out of it. Unfortunately, the term value will be subjective for everyone.

The first step to finding the best value rangefinder for you will be easy. You’ll need to answer the question “What do you hunt with?” Once you answer that with rifle or bow, you can start deciding on features that are most important to you. If you’ve got a bow, you’ll probably want something that has ARC, with a rifle you dont really need it.

How Much Magnification and Range Will You Need?

This is something that your preferred hunting tool will tell you mostly. If you’re a great shot and are comfortable shooting your rifle 250-500 yards, a rangefinder with the max distance of 800 to 1000 yards would be suitable for your needs. If you bow hunt mostly, you wont need a rangefinder with that kind of distance at all. So, it doesnt make sense to pay a bunch of extra money to buy a bow hunting rangefinder with a half mile range – we cant hit a target with our bow from that far out anyway. This also applies for distance. You’re not going to be shooting from a ways away so the magnification wont really matter. As long as the animal is clear within your target range and you can easily spot the kill zone, a max range of 6x or so will be more than adequate. Anything more than that is for long range rifle shooting, so if you dont to that, then there’s no need to pay extra for that with your rangefinder.

Optics and Display

Optics are something that you should never skimp on. Make sure to buy the best quality units from brand names that you trust, like leupold, bushnell and others. They all have quality products with great lenses and you really cant go wrong buying a name brand rangefinder optics wise. It’s always best to go with a great name for optics as you dont want to end up with a rangefinder that you cant see anything out of. Displays are also crucial, though most work fairly well now. You need to make sure to get one that works in the type of lights that you will be most frequently operating it in. If you consistently hunt at dawn and dusk, make sure to get a rangefinder with a display bright enough to be read during those times.

Other Features

There are tons of other features on many different rangefinders, but the most common one is probably ARC. ARC is a tool that helps shooters that are angled above or below their targets to calculate how high or low they should aim at their target to compensate for them being on a hill. Obviously, this feature isnt necessary for people who hunt with a rifle.

So, what features do you need? Below are our best value rangefinders for Bow and Rifle Hunting.

Best Value Rifle Hunting Rangefinder
Best Value Bow Hunting Rangefinder
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Nikon ProStaff 3 RangefinderBushnell Rangerfinder The Truth w/ ARC
Why We Picked it: Competitive price and quality optics from Nikon make up the backbone of this unit, with a max range of 550 yards (and field reports of 600+ yard range) it's more than adequate for rifle hunting. It is very easily operated with 1 hand and has one of the best and easiest to read displays of all products on the market. A 6x magnification rounds out the units best features. We think it's a solid buy for any hunter, but will work well for rifle hunters in particular!Why We Picked it: Quality Bushnell Optics form the backbone of this unit, which they put their ARC technology in - which is very important for bow hunters. Accuracy out to 600 yards is more than adequate for bow hunting, and it has 4x magnification to boost the units power. The unit is easily operated with 1 hand, and comes with a true distance feature that provides true horizontal distance up to 200 yards.
It's tough to go wrong with a quality rangefinder like this, and it will meet your bow hunting needs quite well. The price is very competitive for this unit making it a great value. Any bow hunter would be happy to take this rangefinder out into the field.


What You Need to Look For when Reading Range Finder Reviews

When you are in need of buying some new gear, you’re probably like me and try and figure out the best product that you can get for the money you want to spend. There are a lot of ways to do this, like comparing features that are must haves vs units with features that would be handy but you dont need, and reading reviews. I went about this process no differently when I was looking for a rangefinder, and I read a ton of range finder reviews before I bought my new one. If you’re reading some reviews, here are a few things to look for.

file0001564894818 1024x682 What You Need to Look For when Reading Range Finder Reviews

The first thing that you need to remember is that all these reviews are written by normal people. They may be over selling a problem because they did not read the directions correctly or are having some other issue that is preventing them from operating the unit correctly and have not figured out how to fix that. They also could be making a feature or function of the unit easier to use (or perform better) than it actually is. That of course, doesnt happen often but a lot of negative product reviews I have found way overstate the problem, sometimes even to the point where I cant figure out why they were having a problem in the first place when I get whatever it is that I ended up ordering.

You also need to make sure that you know what features are important to you and what features are not. For instance, if you dont need ARC Calculation, you can save a bit of money by not getting it, or if the unit that you’re dead set on purchasing doesnt have a high quality one, then it’s not really that much of an issue.

One thing to look for is the length and quality of the review.

  • How long is the review? Usually, the longer the review the better – it shows that the person who did the review really put time and effort into it, and covered as many bases as they could before posting the review. Here’s a great example of a long positive review (this review is for the Simmons Laser Rangefinder).
  • How much testing did the reviewer put into the review, and for how long? If the review writer just pulled it out of the box and played with it for 5 minutes, they were unable to test all the features and everything else that they cant do inside or wont execute properly unless they know how to use the unit.
  • Under what conditions was the review done? We are all hunters here, and we all know that we are not going to be out in 68 degree weather with little to no clouds in the sky and no rain. We are going to be in the snow, rain, sleet, cold and many other adverse weather conditions. We need to know if the unit will perform at all times, not just when we are out messing with it on the street. Here is an example of a very helpful review after the user tested it in adverse weather.
  • Does the review discuss all the units features? If they didnt discuss all the units features, why were they left out? When I purchased my rangefinder I looked at everything I could on every feature to figure out if it was needed or not.
  • Does the reviewer specifically talk about pros and cons of the rangefinder? This isnt necessary, but really helps to boil down the interview into easily digestible chunks when you’re looking over everything.
  • Is Optics Quality mentioned? Optics quality is one of the most important things in a rangefinder. If you’ve got bad optics, the whole unit probably wont function as you had hoped it will.

These are the things that I looked for when I was reading range finder reviews. What were good or bad things were you looking for when you picked out your rangefinder?

Bushnell laser rangefinders

Bushnell is an American  company known for inventing high quality Bushnell laser rangefinders, binoculars, riflescopes, trail cameras, among other great optics. Bushnell Optics is headquartered in the Kansas City (MO) area, and is not just limited to hunting gear. They also make golf rangefinders and other optics (such as microscopes), as well as ski optics under the name bolle. The compnay was established 50 years ago and it has continued to offer quality and technologically improved products.

If you are looking for laser rangefinders to make your hunting a bit easier and more precise, bushnell has many options. They are known for quality optics products, and you can never go wrong when getting a bushnell product. I’ve had some bushnell binoculars for quite a while, and have been very happy with them, even though they are just a small, cheap pair.

Bushnell has a lot of great hunting products if you’re looking for a rangefinder. They have many rangefinders focused on hunters, and some specific for bow hunting and some that work better in the wide open plains for rifle hunters. As with all rangefinders, it’s important to pick one that best suits your needs. If you mainly hunt in tree stands or dense wooded areas, a rangefinder with an accuracy up to 800 yards may not be that beneficial to you because you wont be able to see that far through the trees anyway. However, if you do a lot of spot and stalk style hunting, you’ll need a rangefinder with quite a bit of distance so you can see how far you need to move to get in shooting range of the animal. Rangefinders can also help you determine how far a shot to take, by ranging in the animal, then the area you plan to sneak to and hide behind for your shot.

  • G-force DX
  • Fusion 1 mile arc
  • Elite 1 mile arc
  • Scout DX 1000 arc
  • The truth with clear shot
  • The truth with arc
  • Sport 850
  • Yardage pro riflescope

Here are some of the more popular hunting rangefinders that are produced by bushnell.

Bushnell G-Force 1300

51Qc%2BUaP6AL. SL160  Bushnell laser rangefinders
  • This is one of the most accurate laser rangefinders in the market today
  • It has 6x magnification
  • It is fitted with the 2nd generation extreme speed precision  therefore its speed performance is spectacular
  • It is fitted with bow, bull’s-eye, brush ,rifle and scan mode
  • Has bright crystal clear optics that makes it easy to target during low light
  • It is light in weight therefore easy to carry around
  • It is rainproof

The bushnell G Force 1300 is a high quality bushnell product, offering easy ranging out to 1300+ yards with high accuracy. There are many great features, and it’s easy to use when ranging in targets at distance. More importantly, it’s easy to read the display in low light and no light situations, so you can see it while you’re waiting for shooting light in the brush or tree stand. You can also easily compensate for angles with the ACR tool, and has been fairly accurate during testing.

Check out more reviews and Current prices at amazon

Bushnell continues to invent the best laser rangefinders that will suit your purpose. They are easy to use and no guide in necessarily needed.

Bushnell Scout 1000 ARC laser rangefinder

We want to make your decision on picking a rangefinder as easy as possible, so we are trying to review every 51x7EXM%2Bp9L. SL160  Bushnell Scout 1000 ARC laser rangefinderrangefinder that they sell on amazon so you know what features you need and what features you dont need in your first or next rangefinder.

Bushnell Scout 1000 ARC laser rangefinder is one of the products from the famed Bushnell Company. It invents good quality laser rangefinders fitted with modern features that make outdoor events more enjoyable and fun. Bushnell Scout 1000 rangefinder with angle compensation is designed mainly for bow and gun hunting. The rangefinder comes in a complete pack with battery, strap and a carrying case.

Key features to find in Bushnell Scout 1000 ARC

  • The angle range compensation that makes it possible to figure out how much you need to adjust your shot if you’re on a hill
  • It has a 5x magnification with a 1000-yard range. If you’re hunting just about anywhere in north america, 1,000 yard range should be fine.
  • It has multicoated optics with rain guard allowing the user to use it under unfavorable rainy conditions
  • It has an in-built tripod mount
  • Has different modes for bows and guns
  • It has built-in inclinometer for measuring angles.
  • It has bow mode that provides true horizontal distance from 5-99 yards
  • Rifle mode that provides bullet-drop and holdover in inches
  • It has a bulls-eye mode that acquires distances of small targets without measuring the background target distances
  • It comes with 3-volt CR2 battery pack

Pros of Bushnell Scout 1000 ARC

  • The modes work super cool
  • Accurate and reliable rangefinder of all times
  • The angle range compensation feature gives clear distant readings
  • It is simple to use and easy to carry around especially with the neck strap
  • It gives perfect range every time therefore suitable for hunters
  • The 5x magnification works perfectly and when spotting targets
  • lenses are crystal clear with 5x zoom and diopter adjustment to get the clearest view of your target
  • It allows for lower ranging up to 5 yards
  • Has a bull’s eye mode that allows the user to range the tiniest targets such as squirrels.
  • The brush mode works great .It is able to ignore branches that may be between the user and the target.
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Cons of using Bushnell Scout 1000 ARC

  • Its battery goes down constantly while not in use. Consider buying extra batteries for replacement.
  • Difficult to read display at during low light conditions
  • It gives readouts in whole yards and not in fractions or decimals

What do you think?

In general, the Bushnell Scout 1000 fitted with angle range compensation is designed to make hunting much easier.  Any hunter is capable of using it, given that the rangefinder is user friendly and easy to carry around. While it might have a few negative elements, these are easy to fix. Its rain proof features also mean you can hunt any time, and in any kind of weather without problems. However, you might have to carry replacement batteries on longer expeditions.

The 3 Most Important Things to Consider When Buying a Rangefinder

When you’re looking to buy your first rangefinder, there are many different things to consider. Each range finder has its own weight, dimensions, feel in your hand, optics, magnification and so many other different things. How can you tell which ones matter, and if they all matter, how do you decide which things are most important when picking out a rangefinder?

I had these same questions when I was looking for a new rangefinder, so I looked around and after a lot of research, here are the 3 most important things to look at when buying a new rangefinder or replacing your old rangefinder.

Laser rangefinders serve a very specific purpose; to determine target distance. The type of target you are sighting is the most important aspect to consider when choosing a laser rangefinder. Other considerations should be made for the type of situation you’ll be in and personal preferences. For example, if you plan to hunt at night or dusk, you will require a rangefinder with an illuminated reticle to accurately sight your target.

Hunting vs. Golf Laser Rangefinders
There are two main types of laser rangefinders; those made for golf and those designed for hunting. The main difference between a golf rangefinder and a hunting rangefinder is something called priority mode. A golf rangefinder is a Priority One rangefinder and picks up distance on the first available target, making it best for measuring distance in a wide open space, where you aren’t concealed in trees or bushes. Hunting rangefinders, on other hand, are Priority Two which means they will ignore the first or any interfering objects and focus on/measure the distance from the object you are pointing at, making them much more beneficial while you are out in the field.

Maximum Distance
You want to be sure to select a rangefinder with a suitable range for your particular needs. One thing to be aware of is that the advertised maximum distance is measured under ideal conditions. If you want a rangefinder with a maximum distance of 800 yards, it would be a good idea to purchase one with a 1200-yard maximum to allow for overcast conditions or other unfavorable lighting issues. On most rangefinders, the maximum distance for that particular model will be referenced in the product title.

Optics Quality

The quality of the optical glass should be a serious consideration when purchasing a rangefinder as it will dramatically impact the quality of your view. High-quality glass and special coatings can be expensive but quality optics are a critical feature for hunting rangefinders because hunters need to clearly identify their targets. A rangefinder with high-quality optics will produce brighter, crisper, and less distorted images and are what separates mediocre rangefinders from high-end rangefinders.

The magnification power refers to how many times closer the object will appear through the rangefinder than with the naked eye. For example, 6x magnification means the object will appear 6 times closer looking through the rangefinder than without it. Most laser rangefinders meet or exceed the 6x or 7x magnification level and will work just fine for most uses. The magnification does not play as important of a role as the maximum distance when choosing a rangefinder. But magnification does make it easier for you to see the target and can allow your rangefinder to double as a binocular in the field.

A reticle is an aiming point, or the set of crosshairs you see when you look through the rangefinder. Reticles can vary by brand and model. Some crosshairs will be black, which can be tough to distinguish if you are in a low light situation or have a dark background. Other rangefinders will illuminate the reticle to accomodate low light and make it easier to pinpoint the target. The downside to illuminated reticles is that they can be washed out in bright light conditions.

Those are the things that we think are most important when buying a rangefinder. In addition to the optics, reticles and the proper type we strongly suggest you determine what kind of rangefinder you need. There are lots of rangefinders with lots of different functionality, so you can save some cash by getting only the features that you need.

If you’re looking for more information on rangefinders, check the guide.

Best Rangefinder for Hunting

13617498871fxx4 Best Rangefinder for HuntingWhenever I’m looking for a new piece of gear to take hunting u make sure that I’m not wasting money on the item and that I’m not wasting space in pack that can be better utilized by some other piece of equipment. I don’t want my pack to be too heavy but I also don’t want it to have a bunch of stuff in there that never gets used. In short I want to carry with me exactly what I need and nothing more. This obviously gets tricky but I think I do ok when I’m out hunting.

One area that I’ve noticed can really take up a lot of space and not provide a lot of value is the wrong rangefinder. I’m not saying all rangefinders are bad and not worth the money – that’s not true at all. What I am saying is that if you buy the wrong rangefinder, it will just take up space and weigh you down. I spent a lot of time looking for the best rangefinder for hunting when I was looking for a new rangefinder. The answer isn’t as cut and dry as I would have liked because there are so many on the market and have so many different features depending on your needs. Maybe focusing on the best rangefinder isn’t as good of an idea as finding the one that best meets your needs.To do that, we need to sift through all the features that are common on different rangefinders and figure out what ones do meet our needs. First, you need to start with what type of hunting you do most often.

Archery vs Rifle Hunting Rangefinders

One of the biggest differences in terms of rangefinders has to do with the features that the unit come with. There are rangefinders with angle compensation systems (though each manufactured calls them something different). What the angle compensation tools do is help hunters try and determine the actual distance the animal is away from you, while accounting for you being above or below the target.

Example: Lets say you’ve found a group of elk and chased them over a ridge. You move to the top of the ridge and have a peek over, and you can see them about 40 yards down the ridge. If you were to put your bow in and pull back for a 40 yard shot – you’d miss and the arrow would go below your elk, who would then run off. This is because since the animal is at an angle below you, that changes the distance you actually need to be at to hit the elk. Now, an angle compensation tool will help you determine what pin to use in this situation (It should be about a 36 yard pin). That way, you can head back to the truck hauling elk quarters, instead of with a near miss story.

Now, these features aren’t really worthwhile if you dont hunt archery, as you wouldn’t use them much (if at all) if you were rifle hunting. However, they do cost quite a bit and could be a great thing to pass on if you’re not interested in bow hunting.

What Max Range Do You Need?

Another feature that needs to be considered to find the best rangefinder for hunting is the maximum range of the unit. If you typically do most of your hunting from a tree stand, you’re not really going to need a rangefinder with a 1,000 yard + maximum range – you wont be able to see that far through the trees even if the unit you bought had the capability to do so (and even then, you couldnt be sure you were ranging in your target and not a tree). I havent done much hunting in the trees like that, but a friend of mine that took me out had a rangefinder that had a max range around 600 yards, and said that it was more than he would ever need.

I live in the west and hunt a lot in Wyoming, so when I’m out hunting for antelope, there could be a couple hundred yards between me and the antelope when I first see them and when I can actually figure out a way to get on them close enough to get a shot off. A rangefinder with a maximum distance of 800-900 yards was something that I found a lot of value in when I was looking for a new rangefinder.


Good glass is what will make or break your rangefinder. Getting good glass with good coatings is crucial to helping you get the best picture you can while ranging in your targets in the field. Good glass will make the picture on your unit clear when you’re ranging in that white tail that’s 440 yards away. A clear picture will do a lot of good in helping you determine what shot you need to take and how to get close enough to take that shot.

As one of the guy’s I’ve hunted with before says “dont skimp on optics – you’ll pay for it in the end”. I agree with him wholeheartedly, and think that you should get the best rangefinder that suits your needs and that you can afford. They are expensive, but they arent worth the constant missing that having a low quality rangefinder could set you up for.

Other Things to Consider

We’ve gone over what we think are some of the more important things to consider when looking for a rangefinder. Those arent the only things that come with a rangefinder, so there are a few more things to consider when getting a new rangefinder.

Magnification Level

Personally, I think 6x a great magnification level and will suit about 90% of hunters. That level of magnification will help you easily see a target clearly at 500+ yards, and will help you get a good eye on the size of the animal as well as the sex of the animal. Keep in mind that a rangefinder doesnt make it easier to range in your target with more magnification – it just makes the target easier to see through the viewing window.

Size, Weight and Hand-Feel

One thing that doesnt often get considered when making a rangefinder purchase is the hand feel. What I’m talking about here is how the unit fits in your hands, and how easily that you can operate the unit with just one hand (as that is what you’ll probably be doing a lot). If the unit is uncomfortable or difficult to operate with just 1 hand, then you probably wont end up using it often as you’ll find that it’s more trouble than it’s worth and stop using it because of that.

While they are minor concerns, size and weight should also be noted. Most rangefinders weigh pretty close to the same amount, with the difference between the lightest one and the heaviest one not being more than 1/2 a pound. Not significant, but still something to consider. Every pound helps when you’re quartering out elk over 3+ miles.

Rangefinders come with a lot of bells and whistles, but typically they arent usually that heavily used when you’re actually out in the field. Get a rangefinder with the highest quality optics you can afford, and you should be fine. If you’re looking for the best, check out our top 5 list on the home page.

Now, those are just some of the things we look at when we are thinking about the best rangefinder for hunting. What are you looking for in a new rangefinder?