Hunting is a hobby older than any of us, but the technology involved has changed drastically in recent years to make hunting easier, more convenient and more accurate than ever. Among the inventions designed to make your hunt a success is the hunting rangefinder, and we’ve reviewed some of the best in this article.
Rangefinders allow us to see what is in front of us more clearly, and as well as this they help us to measure distance, a vital skill for hunters and one that the naked eye is never going to be as good at. Most rangefinders allow us to very simply put it to our eyes and take a reading before we go in for the kill.
Do I Need a Rangefinder?
In short, though you don’t ‘need’ one to get started, these little devices can make your life a hell of a lot easier, there is no stigma attached or suggestion of a lack of skill if you use one, it is simply a tool to enhance your hunting ability, the best rangefinders for hunting are simple to use, easy to carry around with you and are cleverly designed to make things simple for the hunter.
What Makes a Good Rangefinder?
There are a few different aspects to a ‘good’ rangefinder, and it depends on personal preference and of course what you are planning to use it for. ‘Hunting’ is a wide term, and can refer to archery, bow hunting, rifle hunting and more. Depending on your own needs the definition of what is best can change, but a few constants are hallmarks of quality.
- Brand – some top brands make these types of optics and choosing the best can ensure reliability, quality and even things like customer support and warranty. Buying from a quality, trusted brand can give a lot of piece of mind.
- Display – no matter what you’re using it for, you’re going to want a clear and easy-to-use display with the relevant info in the relevant places to show you what you need to see.
- Magnification – if you’re looking into a rangefinder to use for hunting, you’re going to want magnification in order to be able to see things from long range, 7-8x magnification is pretty normal for these products and is an integral quality.
- Design – not just the way it looks, but you need a design that suits you, whether it is a bigger, more robust unit or a small, lightweight rangefinder to wear around your neck.
Variations for Different Types of Hunting
As already mentioned, ‘hunting’ is a broad term. What makes the best for one type of hunting may not be the case for another. So we’ve looked into each of the most popular variations.
Archery is growing in Popularity, and the average archer is probably looking for a rangefinder with a compact design to carry around easily with your bow, or in a belt holster. A vertical grip can be better for this type of hunting and angle compensation is a real bonus.
Bushnell 202442 The Truth ARC Bow Hunting Rangefinder
If you’ve looked into Rangefinders before, the chances are you will have heard of the Bushnell Brand, who are an incredible manufacturer of rangefinders with a big range, many of which will be suitable for your needs. We’ve pinpointed the 202442 ‘the truth ARC’ model which is designed to be used by bow hunters.
The pocket size design make this really easy to carry around, and an upright design is perfect for this type of hunting and seeing clearly. The 4x optics are perfect for bow hunting and allow the rangefinder to stay accurate (7-8x magnification can get shaky and hard to see, just like when you zoom in on your camera).
In their own words, this offers ‘HD’ clarity, and I’d have to agree, as well as being clear and precise the display is clear and easy to use, offering everything you could want from this type of rangefinder. It is rainproof and has a carry case and a neck band included so it is perfect for taking out in any conditions and will not get in the way, it is also ‘anti-slip’ and unlikely to slip out of your hands even in fast, unstable conditions.
Rifle hunting is generally done over long distances as you have the power and distance of a rifle to help this, which can make a rangefinder an even more integral piece of kit, and makes the magnification settings and accuracy vital when choosing your rangefinder.
Our Recommended Model for the Rifle Hunters and shooters out there:
Bushnell Scout DX 1000
Another model from Bushnell makes our list of recommendations, this is truly one of the best rangefinders on the market and is suitable for a wide range of uses (it can even be used for golf) this is what I would describe as ‘dual-purpose’ and is great for both shorter ranges such as archery all the way up to the full 1000 yard range of this model (hence its name)
One of the most amazing things about this, and many of the Bushnell models, is the accuracy. They claim it is accurate to 1/2 yard, and our experience is in line with this. It is waterproof and rubber-guarded, which also make this one of the most durable rangefinders, great for hunting in rough conditions. The amazing reviews (around 4.5 stars out of 5 on amazon at time of writing) make this a superb option for most of us.
Whilst this is a ‘horses for courses’ situation and the style of hunting is largely influential on your choice, we strongly recommend Bushnell rangefinders, who have an exceptional range of high quality products which all boast excellent optics. Once you use a rangefinder, the chances are you won’t look back, and the investment can be well worth it when you consider the improvement in your ability it can give you.